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The following work is intended, in part, as a con- 
tinuation of the ancient History of the East, already 
treated by the author at some length in his ' Five Great 
Monarchies;' but it is also, and more expressly, in- 
tended as a supplement to the ancient History of the 
West, as that history is ordinarily presented to moderns 
under its two recognised divisions of ' Histories of 
Greece ' and ' Histories of Eome.' Especially, it seemed 
to the writer that the picture of the world during the 
Eoman period, commonly put before students in ' His- 
tories of Eome,' was defective, not to say false, in its 
omission to recognise the real position of Parthia 
during the three most interesting centuries of that 
period, as a counterpoise to the power of Eome, a 
second figure in the picture not much inferior to the 
first, a rival state dividing with Eome the attention of 
mankind and the sovereignty of the known earth. 
Writers of Eoman history have been too much in the 
habit of representing the later Eepublic and early 
Empire as, practically, a Universal Monarchy, a Power 
unchecked, unbalanced, having no other limits than 
those of the civilised world, engrossing consequently 
the whole attention of all thinking men, and free to 



act exactly as it pleased without any regard to opinion 
beyond its own borders. One of the most popular » 
enlarges on the idea-an idea quite inconsistent with 
the fact— that for the man who provoked the hostility 
of the ruler of Rome there was no refuge upon the 
whole face of the earth but some wild and barbarous 
region, where refinement was unknown, and life would 
not have been worth having. To the present writer 
the truth seems to be that Home never was in the 
position supposed— that from first to last, from the 
time of Pompey's Eastern Conquests to the Fall of 
the Empire, there was always in the world a Second 
Power, civilised or semi-civilised, which in a true 
sense balanced Pome, 2 acted as a counterpoise and a 
check, had to be consulted or considered, held a 
place in all men's thoughts, and finally furnished a 
not intolerable refuge to such as had provoked Pome's 
master beyond forgiveness. This Power for nearly 
three centuries (b.c. 04-a.d. 225) was Parthia, after 
which it was Persia under the Sassanian kings. In 
the hope of gradually vindicating to Parthia her true 
place in the world's history, the Author has in Ins 
'Manual of Ancient History ' (published by the Dele- 
gates of the Clarendon Press) placed the Parthians 
alongside of the Eomans, and treated of their history 
at a moderate length. But it has seemed to him that 
something more was requisite. He could not expect 

1 Gibbon (Decline and Fall, vol. 
i. ch. iii. sub fin.) 

2 The ancient writers are liberal 
in their admissions of this fact 
(See Justin, xli. ]. § 7: Dio Cass. 

xl. 14 ; Strab. xi. 9, § 2 ; Plin. //. X. 
v. 25 ; and Herodian, iv. 18.) It is 
surprising; that moderns have so 
generally overlooked these passages. 


that students would be able to give Parthia her proper 
place in their thoughts, unless her history were col- 
lected and put forth in a readable form with some 
fulness. lie has, therefore, employed most of his 
leisure during the last two years in writing the pre- 
sent work, which he commends to students of the 
later Greek and Eoman periods as supplemental to 
the modern Greek and Eoman histories in which 
those periods are commonly studied. 

The Parthian Chronology depends very much upon 
coins. In preparing this portion of his work the 
Author has been greatly indebted to aid kindly ren- 
dered him by Mr. E. Stuart Poole and Mr. Gardiner 
of the British Museum. The representations of coins 
in the work have been, with one exception, taken by 
the Author from the originals in the National Collec- 
tion. For the illustrations of Parthian architecture 
and art he is indebted to the published works of 
Mr. Ainsworth, Mr. Eoss, the late Mr. Loftus, and 
MM. Flandin and Coste. He feels also bound to 
express his obligations to the late Mr. Lindsay, the 
numismatic portion of whose work on Parthia x he 
has found of much service. 

Canterbury : December 1872. 

1 History and Coinage of the Farthians, published at Cork in 1852. 




Geography of Parthia Proper. Character of the Region. Climate. 
Character of the surrounding countries . . . 1 


Early notices of the Parthians. Their Ethnic character and connec- 
tions. Their position under the Persian Monarcks, from Cyrus 
tke Great to Darius III. (Codomannus) . . . .15 


Condition of Western Asia under tke earlier Seleucidae. Revolts of 
Bactria and Parthia. Conflicting accounts of the establishment 
of the Parthian Kingdom. First War with Syria . . 20 


Consolidation of the Parthian Kingdom. Death of Tiridates and 
accession of Arsaces III. Attack on Media. War of Artabanus 
(Arsaces III.) with Antiochus the Great. Period of inaction. 
Great development of Bactrian power. Reigns of Priapatius 
(Arsaces IV.) and Phraates I. (Arsaces V.) 52 


Reign of Mithridates I. Position of Bactria and Syria at his ac- 
cession. His first War with Bactria. His great Expedition 
against the Eastern Syrian provinces, and its results. His second 
war with Bactria, terminating in its conquest. Extent of his 
Empire. Attempt of Demetrius Nicator to recover the lost Pro- 
vinces, fails. Captivity of Demetrius. Death of Mithridates . GO 




System of government established by Mithridates I. Constitution 
of the Parthians. Government of the Provinces. Laws and 
Institutions. Character of Mithridates 1. . . . .84 


Reign of Phraates II. Expedition of Antiochus Sidetes against 
Parthia. Release of Demetrius. Defeat and death of Sidetes. 
War of Phraates -with the Northern Nomads. His death and 
character ........ 96 


Accession of Artabanus II. Position of Parthia. Growing pressure *■ — 
upon her, and general advance towards the south, of the Saka or 
Scyths. Causes and extent of the movement. Character and 
principal tribes of the Saka. Scythic war of Artabanus. His 
death ill 


Accession of Mithridates II. Termination of the Scythic Wars. 
Commencement of the struggle with Armenia. Previous history 
of Armenia. Result of the first Armenian War. First contact 
of Rome with Parthia. Attitude of Rome towards the East at 
this time. Second Armenian War. Death of Mithridates . 123 


Dark period of Parthian History. Doubtful Succession of the 
Monarchs. Accession of Sanatrceces, ab. B.C. 76. Position of 
Parthia during the Mithridatic Wars. Accession of Phraates III. 
His Relations with Pompey. His Death. Civil War betweeu 
his two sons, Mithridates and Orodes. Death of Mithridates . 137 


Accession of Orodes I. Expedition of Crassus. His fate. Retalia- 
tory inroad of the Parthians into Syria under Pacorus, the son of 
Orodes. Defeat of Pacorus by Cassius. His recall. End of 
first War with Rome . . . . . .150 




Relations of Orodes with Pompey, and with Brutus and Cassius. 
Second War with Rome. Great Parthian Expedition against 
Syria, Palestine, and Asia Minor. Defeat of Saxa. Occupation of 
Antioch and Jerusalem. Parthians driven out of Syria by Ven- 
tidius. Death of Pacorus. Death of Orodes . . . 182 


Reign of Phraates IV. His cruelties. Plight of Monaases to An- 
tony. Antony's great Parthian Expedition, or Invasion of Media 
Atropatene\ Its Complete Failure. Subsequent Alliance of the 
Median King with Antony. War between Parthia and Media. 
Rebellion raised against Phraates by Tiridates. Phraates expelled. 
He recovers his Throne with the help of the Scythians. His 
dealings with Augustus. His Death and Character . .101 


Short Reigns of Pliraataces, Orodes II., and Vonones I. Accession 
of Artabanus III. His relations with Germanicus and Tiberius. 
His war with Pharasmanes of Iberia. His First Expulsion from 
his Kingdom, and return to it. His Peace with Rome. Internal 
Troubles of the Parthian Kingdom. Second Expulsion and 
Return of Artabanus. His Death . . . . .21! 


Doubts as to the Successor of Artabanus III. First short reign of 
Gotarzes. He is expelled and Vardanes made King. Reign of 
Vardanes. His War with Izates. His Death. Second reign of 
Gotarzes. His Contest with his Nephew, Meherdates. His 
Death. Short and inglorious reign of Vonones II. . . 249 


Reign of Volagases I. His first attempt on Armenia fails. His 
quarrel with Izates. Invasion of Parthia Proper by the Dahae 
and Sacae. Second attack of Volagases on Armenia. Tiridates 
established as King. First Expedition of Corbulo. Half sub- 
mission of Volagases. Revolt of Vardanes. Second Expedition 



of Corbulo. Armenia given to Tigranes. Revolt of Hyrcania. 
Third attack of Volagases on Armenia. Defeat of Pa3tus, and 
re-establishment of Tiridates. Last Expedition of Corbulo, and 
arrangement of Terms of Peace. Tiridates at Rome. Probable 
time of the Death of Volagases ..... 262 


Results of the Establishment of Tiridates in Armenia. Long period 
of Peace between Parthia and Rome. Obscurity of Parthian 
History at this time. Relations of Volagases I. with Vespasian. 
Invasion of Western Asia by the Alani. Death of Volagases I. 
and Character of his Reign. Accession and Long Reign of 
Pacorus. Relations of Pacorus with Decebalus of Dacia. In- 
ternal Condition of Parthia during his Reign. Death of Pacorus 
and Accession of Chosroes ...... 287 


Reign of Chosroes. General condition of Oriental Affairs gives a 
handle to Trajan. Trajan's Schemes of Conquest. Embassy of 
Chosroes to Trajan fails. Great Expedition of Trajan. Cam- 
paign of a.d. 115. Campaign of a.d. 116. Death of Trajan, and 
relinquishment of his Parthian Conquests by Hadrian. Interview 
of Chosroes with Hadrian. Its Consequences. Death of Chos- 
roes and Accession of Volagases II. ... . 299 


Reign of Volagases II. Invasion of the Alani. Communications 
between Volagases and Antoninus Pius. Death of Volagases 
II. and Accession of Volagases III. Aggressive War of Vola- 
gases III. on Rome. Campaign of a.jd. 162. Verus sent to the 
East. Sequel of the War. Losses suffered by Parthia. Death 
of Volagases III. . . . . . . .319 


Accession of Volagases IV. His Alliance sought by Pescennius 
Niger. Part taken by Parthia in the Contest between Niger and 
Severus. Mesopotamia revolts from Rome. First Eastern Expe- 
dition of Severus. Its Results. Second Expedition. Successes 
of Severus. His Failure at Hatra. General Results of the War. 
Death of Volagases IV. ..... . 333 



Struggle between the two Sons of Volagasea IV., Volagases V., and 
Artabanus. Continued Sovereignty of both Princes. Ambition 
of Caracallus. His Proceedings in the East. His Resolve to 
quarrel with Parthia. First Proposal made by him to Artabanus. 
Perplexity of Artabanus. Caracallus invades Parthia. His Suc- 
cesses, and Death. Macrinus, defeated by Artabanus, consents to 
Terms of Peace. Revolt of the Persians under Artaxerxes. 
Prolonged Struggle. Death of Artabanus, and Downfall of the 
Parthian Empire ....... 348 


On the Architecture and Ornamental Art of the Parthians . .371 


Customs of the Parthians — in Religion; in War; in their Embassies 
and Dealings with Foreign Nations ; at the Court ; in Private Lre. 
Extent of the Refinement to which they reached. Their gradual 
Decline in Taste and Knowledge ..... 398 

List of Authors and Editions quoted in the Notes . . . 431 

Index 435 



Map of Parthia Proper 

„ Parthian Empire at its greatest extent 
Plan of Hatra (after Ross) . 


to face p. L 
. 374 

Palace-Temple at Hatra (after Fergusson and Ross) 


View of Rains of Hatra (from 
an original drawing) to face 

Coin of Diodotus I. 
Pbraates I. 

Obverse of a coin of Phraates 


I. . 


Coins of Mithridates I. 



Mithridates I., 


saces L, and Artabanus 

I. . 


Coin of Labienus 


Phraataces and Mousa 


Yonones I. 



Artabanus III. 



Yard an es I. . 



Yardanes II. . 


Pacorus II. . 



Coins of Yolagrases II. 


Mithridates IV. 


Coin of Yolagases II. 



Parthian sculpture of a female 

head (after Ross) . 


Parthian sculpture, cornice and 
quasi-capital (after Ross) . 

Parthian sculpture, frieze over 
doorway (after Ross) 

Restoration of Palace-Temple 
at Hatra (after Ainsworth) 

Parthian capitals (after Loftus) 

Parthian diapering (ditto) 

ornamented coffin 

Parthian statuette (ditto) 

vases, j ugs, and lamps 

Bas-relief of Gotarzes (after 

Parthian bas-relief (ditto) 

Bas-relief of Magus, probably- 
Parthian (ditto) 

Bas-relief of hunter and bear, 
probably Parthian (ditto) . 

Parthian kin^s from coins 

. 379 










P. 263, 1. 19, for Pharasmanes read Mithridatea. 

London: JConqinans & Co. 

Engraved bv -Echv-^"Weiler 



Geography of Parthia Proper. Character of the Region. Climate. 
Character of the surrounding Countries. 

' Parthic pleraque finium aut ?estus aut frigoris magnitudo possidet, quippe 
•cum montes nix, et carapos aestus infestet.' — Justin, xli. 1. 

The broad tract of desert which, eastward of the 
Caspian Sea, extends from the Moughojar hills to the 
Indian Ocean, a distance of above 1,500 miles, is 
interrupted about midway by a strip of territory 
possessing features of much beauty and attraction. 
This strip, narrow compared to the desert on either 
side of it, is yet, looked at by itself, a region of no 
inconsiderable dimensions, extending, as it does from 
east to west, 1 a distance of 320, and from north to 
south of nearly 200 miles. The mountain chain, 
which running southward of the Caspian, skirts the 
great plateau of Iran, or Persia, on the north, broadens 
out, after it passes the south-eastern corner of the sea, 
into a valuable and productive mountain-region. Four 
or five distinct ranges 2 here run parallel to one 
another, having between them latitudinal valleys, with 
glens transverse to their courses. The sides of the 

1 The limit, eastward, of the : 2 The chief of these are known 

region here described is the course 
of the Heri-rud, which pierces the 
mountain chain in long. 61° E. 

as the Daman-i-Koh, the Ala Tagh, 
and the Jaghetai or Djuvein moun- 



[Cn. L 

valleys are often well wooded ; l the flat ground at the 
foot of the hills is fertile ; water abounds ; and the 
streams gradually collect into rivers of a considerable 

The fertile territory in this quarter is further in- 
creased by the extension of cultivation to a con- 
siderable distance from the base of the most southern 
of the range's, in the direction of the Great Iranic 
desert. The mountains send down a number of small 
streams towards the south ; and the water of these r 
judiciously husbanded by means of reservoirs and 
kanats, is capable of spreading fertility over a broad 
belt at the foot of the hills ; 2 which, left to nature, 
would be almost as barren as the desert itself, into 
which it would, in fact, be absorbed. 

It was undoubtedly in the region which has been 
thus briefly described, that the ancient home of the 
Parthians lay. In this neighbourhood alone are found 
the geographic names which the most ancient writers 
who mention the Parthians connect with them. 3 Here 
evidently the Parthians were settled 4 at the time when 
Alexander the Great over-ran the East, and first made 
the Greeks thoroughly familiar with the Parthian 
name and territory. Here, lastly, in the time of the 
highest Parthian splendour and prosperity, did a pro- 
vince of the Empire retain the name of Parthyene, or 
Parthia 'Proper ; 5 and here, also, in their palmiest 

1 See Fraser's Khorasan, pp. 433, 
434, 598, &c. 

2 Ibid. pp. 380, 405, 40G, &c. 

3 Herodotus unites the Parthians 
with the Chorasmians (Kharcsm), 
the Sogdians, and the Arians (He- 
rat ees), and again with the Ilyrca- 
nians (Guryhan), the Sarangians, 
and the Thamameans (Herod, iii. 

93, 117). In the Inscriptions of 
Darius, Parthia is connected with 
Sarangia, Aria, Sagartia (the Iranic 
desert), and Hyrcania. (See the 
author's Herodotus, vol. iv. p. 162, 
2nd edition.) 

4 Arrian, Exp. Alex. iii. 25. 

5 Isid. Char. Mans. Pdrth. § 12. 
Compare Plin. H. N. vi.. 25. 

Cn. I.] 


days, did the Parthian kings continue to have a capital 
and a residence. 1 

Parthia Proper, however, was at no time coex- 
tensive with the region described. A portion of that 
region formed the district called Hyrcania ; and it is 
not altogether easy to determine what were the limits 
between the two. The evidence goes, on the whole, 
to show that, while Hyrcania lay towards the west and 
north, the Parthian countiy was that towards the 
south and east, 2 the valleys of the Ettrek and Gurghan 
constituting the main portions of the former, while the 
tracts east and south of those valleys, as far as the 
sixty-first degree of E. longitude, constituted the 

If the limits of Parthia Proper be thus defined, it 
will have nearly corresponded to the modern Persian 
province of Khorasan. It will have extended from 
about Damaghan (long. 54° 10') upon the west, 3 to the 
Heri-rud upon the east, and have comprised the 
modern districts of Damaghan, Shah-rud, Sebzawar, 
Nishapur, Meshed, Shebri-No, and Tersheez. Its 
length from east to west will have been about 300 
miles, and its average width about 100 or 120. It 
will have contained an area of about 33,000 square 
miles, being thus about equal in size to Ireland, 
Bavaria, or St. Domingo. 

The character of the district has been already stated 
in general terms ; but some further particulars may 

(See Polyb. 
1 ; Diod. Sic. 

1 Hecatompylos. 
x. 25 ; Strab. xi. 9, 
xvii. 57.) 

2 See especially Arrian, Exp. 
Alex, iii.23-25 ; Plin. II. N., l.s.c. ; 
and Isid. Char. § 10-12. 

3 According to Strabo (l.s.c), 

the western boundary of Parthia 
was at the Caspian Gates, or more 
than a hundred miles further west 
than Damaghan ; but the region 
immediately east of the Gates is 
more commonly assigned either to 
Hyrcania or to Media. 

e 2 


[Cn. I. 

now be added. It consists, in the first place, of a 
mountain and a plain region — the mountain region 
lying towards the north and the plain region towards 
the south. The mountain region is composed of three 
main ranges, the Daman-i-Koh, or Hills of the Kurds, 1 
upon the north, skirting the great desert of Kharesm ; 
the Alatagh and Meerabee mountains in the centre ; 
and the Jaghetai or Djuvein range, upon the south, 
which may be regarded as continued in the hills above 
Tersheez and KhafF. The three ranges are parallel, 
running east and west, but with an inclination, more 
or less strong, to the north of west and the south of 
east. The northern and central ranges are connected 
by a water-shed, winch runs nearly east and west, a 
little to the south of Kooshan, and separates the head 
streams of the Ettrek from those of the Meshed river. 
The central and southern ranges are connected by a 
more decided mountain line, a transverse ridge which 
runs nearly north and south, dividing between the 
waters that flow westward into the Gurghan, and those 
which form the river of Nishapur. This conformation 
of the mountains leaves between the ranges three 
principal valleys, the valley of Meshed towards the 
south-east, between the Kurdish range and the Alatagh 
and Meerabee ; that of Miyanabad towards the west, 
between the Alatagh and the Jaghetai; and that of 
Nishapur towards the south, between the eastern end 
of the Jaghetai and the western flank of the Meerabee. 
As the valleys are three in number, so likewise are the 

1 Shall Abbas the First trans- 
planted about 15,000 Kurds from 
the Turkish frontier to Khorasan, 
and settled them in the mountain 
region, that they might guard it 

against the Usbegs and other Tatar 
tribes. The descendants of these 
colonists still occupy most of the 
range between the Meshed valley 
and the Kharesmian desert. 

Cn. L] 


rivers, which are known respectively as the Tejend, or 
river of Meshed, the river of Nishapur, and the river 
of Miyanabad. 1 

The Tejend, which is the principal stream of the 
three, rises from several sources in the hills south of 
Kooshan, and flows with a south-easterly course down 
the valley of Meshed, receiving numerous tributaries 
from both sides, 2 until it reaches that city, when it 
bends eastward, and finding a way through the Kurd- 
ish range, joins the course of the Heri-rud, about 
long. 01° 10'. Here its direction is completely changed. 
Turning at an angle, which is slightly acute, it proceeds 
to flow to the west of north, along the northern base 
of the Kurdish range, from which it receives numerous 
small streams, till it ends finally in a large swamp or 
marsh, in lat. 39°, long. 57°, nearly. 3 The entire 
length of the stream, including only main windings, is 
about 475 miles. In its later course, however, it is 
often almost dry, the greater portion of the water 
being consumed in irrigation in the neighbourhood of 

The river of Nishapur is formed by numerous 
small streams, which descend from the mountains that 
on three sides inclose that city. Its water is at times 
wholly consumed in the cultivation of the plain ; but 
the natural course may be traced, running in a southerly 
and south-westerly direction, until it debouches from 
the hills in the vicinity of Tersheez. 

The Miyanabad stream is believed to be a tributary 
of the Gurghan. It rises from several sources in the 

1 Fraser, Kliorasan, p. 554. 

2 One of* the chief of these con- 
veys to the Tejend the waters of 
the Tchcshma Gilass, a small lake 
beautifully clear, on the western 

side of the valley, about twenty- 
five miles above Meshed. 

3 Vambery, Travels in Central 
Asia, Map. 



[Cu. T. 

transverse range joining the Alatagh to the Jaghetai, 
the streams from which all flow westward in narrow 
valleys, uniting about long. 57° 35'. The course of 
the river from this point to Piperne has not been 
traced, but it is believed to run in a general westerly 
direction alono; the southern base of the Alatagh, and 
to form a junction with the Gurghan a little below the 
ruins of the same name. Its length to this point is 
probably about 200 miles. 

The elevation of the mountain chains is not great. 
No very remarkable peaks occur in them ; and it may 
be doubted whether they anywhere attain a height of 
above 0,000 feet. They are for the most part barren 
and rugged, very scantily supplied with timber, 1 and 
only in places capable of furnishing a tolerable pas- 
turage to flocks and herds. The valleys, on the other 
hand, are rich and fertile in the extreme ; that of 
Meshed, which extends a distance of above a hundred 
miles from north-west to south-east, and is from 
twenty to thirty miles broad, has almost everywhere a 
good and deep soil, 2 is abundantly supplied with 
water, and yields a plentiful return even to the simplest 
and most primitive cultivation. The plain about 
Nishapur, which is in length from eighty to ninety 
miles, and in width from forty to sixty, boasts a still 
greater fertility. 3 

The flat country along the southern base of the 
mountains, which ancient writers regard as Parthia 

1 In this respect the mountains 
of ancient Parthia present a strong- 
contrast to those of the neighbour- 
ing Hyrcania. The banks of the 
Gurghan and Ettrek are richly 
wooded (Fraser, pp. 509-602 ; 
Arrian, Exp. Alex. iii. 23) ; while 
the mountains of eastern Khorasan 

are almost destitute of trees. (Fra- 
ser, pp. 407, 470, &c.) 

' z Even where the surface was 
gravel, Mr. Fraser noticed ' a richer 
stratum beneath ' (p. 550). 

3 Kinneir, Persian Empire, pp. 
185, 186; Fraser ; Khorasan, pp. 
405, 406. 


par excellence, 1 is a strip of territory about 300 miles 
long, varying in width according to the labour and the 
skill applied by its inhabitants to the perfecting of a 
system of irrigation. At present the kanats, or under- 
ground water- courses, are seldom carried to a distance 
of more than a mile or two from the foot of the hills ; 
but it is thought that anciently the cultivation was 
extended considerably further. Euined cities dis- 
persed throughout the tract 2 sufficiently indicate its 
capabilities, and in the few places where much atten- 
tion is paid to agriculture, the results are such as to 
imply that the soil is more than ordinarily productive. 3 
The salt desert lies, however, in most places within ten 
or fifteen miles of the hills ; and beyond this distance 
it is obviously impossible that the ' Atak ' or ' Skirt ' 
•should at any time have been habitable. 4 

It is evident that the entire tract above described 
must have been at all times a valuable and much 
coveted region. Compared with the arid and in- 
hospitable deserts which adjoin it upon the north and 
south, Khorasan, the ancient Parthia and Hyrcania, is a 
terrestrial Paradise. Parthia, though scantily wooded, 5 
still produces in places the pine, the walnut, the sycamore, 
the ash, the poplar, the willow, the vine, the mulberry, 
the apricot, and numerous other fruit trees. 6 Saffron, 
assa-foetida, and the gum ammoniac plant, are indi- 
genous in parts of it. 7 Much of the soil is suited for 

1 Plin. H. X. vi. 25. 

2 As Bostam (Fraser, p. 336), 
Kkyzabad (Ibid. p. 359), and others. 
(Ibid. pp. 373, 374, 380, &c.) 

3 Kinneir, p. 185; Fraser, pp. 
343, 379, &c ! < thickly wooded ' (<W7 a ) 

1 The name < Atak ' is given to 6 Fraser, pp. 401, 405, 432. 43' 
the skirts of the mountains both 436, &c. ; Kinneir, p. 175. 
north and south of Parthia. It is 7 Kinneir, p. 185 ; Fraser, Ap 
the Turanian correspondent of the j pendix, p. 25. 

Arian daman, which has the same 
application and meaning. (Fraser, 
p. 245.) 

h See above, p. 6, note i . Yet 
Strabo says (xi. 9, § 1) that it was 



[Cn. I. 

the cultivation of wheat, barley, and cotton. 1 The 
ordinary return upon wheat and barley is reckoned at 
ten for one. 2 Game abounds in the mountains, and 
fish in the underground water-courses. 3 Among 
the mineral treasures of the region may be enumerated 
copper, lead, iron, salt, 4 and one of the most exquisite 
of gems, the turquoise. 5 This gem does not appear 
to be mentioned by ancient writers ; but it is so easily 
obtainable, that we can scarcely suppose it was not 
known from very ancient times. 

The severity of the climate of Parthia is strongly 
stated by Justin. 6 According to modern travellers, 
the winters, though protracted, are not very inclement, 
the thermometer rarely sinking below ten or eleven 
degrees of Fahrenheit during the nights, 7 and during 
the daytime rising, even in December and January, 8 
to 40° or 50°. The cold weather, however, which 
commences about October, continues till nearly the end 
of March, when storms of sleet and hail are common* 
Much snow falls in the earlier portion of the winter, 
and the valleys are scarcely clear of it till March. On 
the mountains it remains much longer, and forms the 
chief source of supply to the rivers during the spring 
and the early summer time. In summer the heat is 
considerable, more especially in the region known as. 
the ' Atak ; ' and here, too, the unwholesome wind, 
which blows from the southern desert, is felt from time 

1 Fraser, pp. -319, 379, &c. 

2 So Fraser, p. 335. Macdonald 
Kinneir, with unwonted extrava- 
gance, speaks of the return from 
dry grain being a hundred, and 
from rice four hundred fold ! (Per- 
sian Empire, p. 178.) 

3 Fraser, pp. 388 and 400. 

4 Kinneir, p. 184 ; Fraser, pp. 

307, 371, 413, 421, &c. 

5 On the turquoise mines of 
Nishapur, see Fraser, ch. xvi. pp. 

G See the passage quoted at the 
head of the chapter. 

7 Fraser, Appendix, p. 134. 

8 Ibid. pp. 303, 343, and 581. 

9 Ibid. pp. 430, 552, and 554. 

Ch. I.] 


to time as a terrible scourge. 1 But in the upland country 
the heat is at no time very intense, and the natives boast 
that they are not compelled by it to sleep on their 
house-tops during more than one month in the year. 2 

The countries by which Parthia Proper was bounded 
were the following : Chorasmia, Margiana, Aria, 
Sarangia, Sagartia, and Hyrcania. 

Chorasmia lay upon the north, consisting of the 
low tract between the most northerly of the Parthian 
mountain chains and the old course of the Oxus. 
This region, which is for the most part an arid and 
inhospitable desert, 8 can at no time have maintained 
more than a sparse and scanty population. The Tur- 
koman tribes which at the present day roam over the 
waste, feeding their flocks and herds alternately on the 
banks of the Oxus and the Tejend, or finding a bare 
subsistence for them about the ponds and pools left by 
the winter rains, represent, it is probable, with sufficient 
faithfulness, the ancient inhabitants, who, whatever 
their race, must always have been nomads, and can 
never have exceeded a few hundred thousands. 4 On this 
side Parthia must always have been tolerably safe from 
attacks, unless the Cis-Oxianian tribes were reinforced, as 
they sometimes were, by hordes from beyond the river. 

1 Kinneir, p. 170. 
3 Fraser, p. 557. 

3 Vambery calls it ' that immense 
awful desert where the traveller may 
wander about for weeks and weeks 
without finding a drop of sweet 
water, or the shelter of a single 
tree ' (Travels, p. 302). Mouravieff 
says : ' This country exhibits the 
image of death, or rather of the 
desolation left behind by a great 
convulsion of nature. Neither 
birds nor quadrupeds are found in 
it ; no verdure nor vegetation cheers 

the sight, except here and there at 
long intervals some spots on which 
there grow a few stunted shrubs.' 
(See l)e Hell's Travels in the 
Steppes of the Caspian Sea, p. 326, 
E. T.) 

4 M. Vambery reckons the entire 
Turkoman population south of the 
Oxus from the Caspian to Balkh at 
196,500 tents, or 982,500 souls. 
(Travels, p. 309.) Chorasmia was 
not more than about one-half of 
this restion. 


On the north-east was Margiana, sometimes regarded 
as a country by itself, sometimes reckoned a mere 
district of Bactria. 1 This was the tract of fertile land 
upon the Murg-ab, or ancient Margus river, which is 
known among moderns as the district of Merv. The 
Murg-ab is a stream flowing from the range of the 
Paropamisus, in a direction which is a little east of 
north ; it debouches from the mountains in about 
lat. 36° 25', and thence makes its way through the 
desert. Before it reaches Merv, it is eighty yards 
wide and live feet deep, 2 thus carrying a vast body of 
water. By a judicious use of dykes and canals, this 
fertilising fluid was in ancient times carried to a dis- 
tance of more than twenty-five miles from the natural 
•course of the river ; and by these means an oasis was 
€reated with a circumference of above 170, and con- 
sequently a diameter of above fifty miles. 3 This tract, 
inclosed on every side by deserts, was among the most 
fertile of all known regions ; it was especially famous 
for its vines, which grew to such a size that a single 
man could not encircle their stems with his two arms, 
and bore clusters that were a yard long. 4 Margiana 
possessed, however, as a separate country, little mili- 
tary strength, and it was only as a portion of some 
larger and more populous territory that it could be- 
come formidable to the Parthians. 

South of Margiana, and adjoining upon Parthia 

1 In the Behistun Inscription | 3 Strab. xi. 10, § 2. There seems 
Darius evidently includes Margiana j no reason to doubt this statement, 
(Marffush) in Bactria (col. iii. par. j though Mr. Fraser supposes that 
■»5, 4). Strabo, however (xi. 10, § 2), ! the irrigation could never have been 
Ptolemy (vi. 11), and Isidore j carried to a much greater distance 
{Mans. Parth. § 14) make it a than twelve or fourteen miles, 
•separate country. (KJiorasan, App. p. 50.) 

2 See the Map to Vambury's 4 Strab. l.s.c. 



towards the cast, was Aria, the tract which lies about 
the modern Herat. This was for the most part a 
mountain region, very similar in its general character 
to the mountainous portion of Parthia, 1 but of much 
smaller dimensions. 2 Its people were fairly warlike ; 
but the Parthian population was probably double or 
triple their number, and Parthia consequently had but 
little to fear in this quarter. 

Upon the south-east Parthia was bordered by 
Sarangia, the country of the Sarangce, or Dranga3. 
This appears to have been the district south of the 
Herat valley, reaching thence as far as the Hamoon, or 
Sea of Seistan. It is a country of hills and downs, 3 
watered by a number of somewhat scanty streams, 
which flow south-westwards from the Paropamisus to 
the Hamoon. Its population can never have been 
great, and they were at no time aggressive or enter- 
prising, so that on this side also the Parthians were 
secure, and had to deal with no formidable neighbour. 

Sagartia succeeded to Sarangia towards the west, 
and bordered Parthia along almost the whole of its 
southern frontier. Excepting in the vicinity of Tebbes 
and Toun 4 (lat. 34°, long. 56° to 58°), this district is 
an absolute desert, the haunt of the gazelle and the 
wild ass, 5 dry, saline, and totally devoid of vegetation. 
The wild nomads, who wandered over its wastes, 
obtaining a scanty subsistence by means of the lasso, 6 

1 See Ferrier, Caravan Journeys, 
pp. 139, 1(55 ; Fraser, Khorasan, 
App. pp. 30-32 ; Vambery, pp. 257- 

2 Strabo gives Aria a length of 
2,000 stades (230 miles), and a 
breadth of 300 stades (35 miles). 
This would make its area about 
8,000 square miles, or less than 

one-third of the area of Parthia 
(supra, p. 3). 

3 Ferrier, Caravan Journeys, pp. 
273, 274. 

4 Fraser, p. 246, and App. p. 24. 

5 Vambery, p. 288. 

6 Herod, vii. 85. If the Sagar- 
tians used the lasso in war, we may 
be sure that, like the inhabitants of 


were few in number, 1 scattered, and probably divided 
by feuds. Southern Parthia might occasionally suffer 
from their raids ; but they were far too weak to con- 
stitute a serious danger to the mountain country. 

Lastly, towards the west and the north-west, Parthia 
was bordered by Hyrcania, a region geographically in 
the closest connection with it, very similar in general 
character, but richer, warmer, and altogether more 
desirable. Hyrcania was, as already observed. 2 the 
western and north-western portion of that broad moun- 
tain region which has been described as intervening 
between the eastern shores of the Caspian and the 
river Arius, or Heri-rud. It consisted mainly of the 
two rich valleys of the Gurghan and Ettrek, with the 
mountain chains enclosing or dividing them. Here on 
the slopes of the hills grow the oak, the beech, the 
elm, the alder, the wild cherry ; here luxuriant vines 
spring from the soil on every side, raising themselves 
aloft by the aid of their stronger sisters, and hanging, 
in wild festoons from tree to tree ; beneath their shade 
the ground is covered with flowers of various kinds, 
primroses, violets, lilies, hyacinths, and others of un- 
known species ; while in the flat land at the bottom 
of the valleys are meadows of the softest and the- 
tenderest grass, capable of affording to numerous 
flocks and herds an excellent and unfailing pasture. 3 
Abundant game finds shelter in the forests, 4 while 
towards the mouths of the rivers, where the ground is 
for the most part marshy, large herds of wild boars 

the Pampas, they employed it also | (Herod. I. s. c.) 
in peace, to capture the animals ~ See above, p. 3. 
which they hunted. 3 See the graphic descriptions of 

1 Eight thousand is the largest I Mr. Fraser (Khorasan, pp. 599, 600, 
number which we find brought | GOB, Sec.) 
into the field by the Sagartians. 1 4 Ibid. p. GIG. 


are frequent ; a single herd sometimes containing 
hundreds. 1 Altogether Hyrcania was a most pro- 
ductive and desirable country, capable of sustaining a 
dense population, and well deserving Strabo's descrip- 
tion of it as 'highly favoured of Heaven.' 2 The area 
of the country was, however, small ; 3 probably not 
much exceeding one-half that of Parthia Proper ; and 
thus the people were not sufficiently numerous to 
cause the Parthians much apprehension. 

The situation and character of Parthia thus, on the 
whole, favoured her becoming an imperial power. 
She had abundant resources within herself ; she had a 
territory apt for the production of a hardy race of 
men ; and she had no neighbours of sufficient strength 
to keep her down, when she once developed the desire 
to become dominant. Surprise has been expressed at 
her rise. 4 But it is perhaps more astonishing that she 
passed so many centuries in obscurity before she be- 
came an important state, than that she raised herself 
at last to the first position among the Oriental nations. 

1 Vambery, p. 72. 

2 iL'pdSpa tvBaifiiav (Strab. xi. 7, 
§ 2). According- to this writer, a 
single vine in Hyrcania produced a 
metrites (nine gallons) of wine, a 
single fig-tree produced sixty m6- 
climni (ninety bushels) of figs, and 
corn did not require to be sown, 
but sprang from the casual drop- 
pings of the last year's crop. 

3 When Hyrcania is called by 
Strabo ' large ' (7roX\//), he intends 
to compare it, not with Parthia, 
but with the small districts occu- 
pied by separate tribes along the 

south coast of the Caspian Sea 
(Strabo, xi. 7, J 1, 2). A com- 
parison of it with Parthia is diffi- 
cult, owing to the uncertainty of 
their respective boundaries ; but if 
we regard the line of demarcation 

as running along the mountains 
south of the Gurghan, thence pass- 
ing to the Alatagh, and proceeding 
along the water-shed south of 
Kooshan to the Kurdish range 
about Mohammedabad, the propor- 
tions of the two will be as stated 
in the text. 

4 See Justin, xli. 1. i Hi et 
Assyriorum et Medorum temporibus 
inter Orientis populos obscurissimi 
fuere. Postea quoque cum im- 
perium Orientis a Medis ad Persas 
translatum est, veluti vulgus sine 
nomine, prseda victorum fuere. 
Postremo Macedonibus, triumphato 
Oriente, servierunt : ut cuivis mirum 
videatur ad tantam eos felicitatem 
provectos, ut imperent gentibus, 
sub quarum imperio veluti servile 
vulgus fuere ' 


Her ambition and her material strength were plants 
of slow growth ; it took several hundreds of years for 
them to attain maturity : when however this point was 
readied, the circumstances of her geographical position 
stood her in good stead, and enabled her rapidly to 
extend her way over the greater portion of Western 



Early notices of the Partitions* Their Ethnic character and connections. 
Their position wider the Persian Monarchs, from Cyrus the Great to 
Darius III. (Codomannus) . 

UapQcov ytvos 2kv6ik6v. — Arrian, Fr. 1. 

The Parthians do not appear in, history until a com- 
paratively recent period. Their name occurs nowhere 
in the Old Testament Scriptures. They obtain no 
mention in the Zendavesta. The Assyrian Inscriptions 
are wholly silent concerning them. It is not until the 
time of Darius Hystaspis that we have trustworthy 
evidence of their existence as a distinct people. 1 In 
the inscriptions of this king Ave find their country 
included under the name of Parthva or Parthwa 
among the provinces of the Persian Empire, joined in 
two places with Sarangia, Aria, Chorasmia, Bactria, and 
Sogdiana, 2 and in a third with these same countries 
and Sagartia. 3 We find, moreover, an account of a 
rebellion in which the Parthians took part. In the 
troubles which broke out upon the death of the 
Pseudo-Smerdis, B.C. 521, Parthia revolted, in con- 
junction (as it would seem) with Hyrcania, espousing 
the cause of that Median pretender, who, declaring, 
himself a descendant of the old Median monarchs, set 

1 Diodorus enumerates the Par- j these stories, which he adopted 

thians among 1 the nations conquered I from the untrustworthy Ctesias. 

by Ninus (ii. 2, § 3), and also says I 3 See Behist. Ins. col. i. par. 6, 

that in the time of Cyaxares they | and Nakhsh-i-Rustam Ins. par. 3. 

revolted from the Medes and placed j 3 See the great inscription of 

themselves under Scythian protec- | Darius at Persepolis, par. 2, § 3. 
tion. But no value can be set upon i 



[Cn. II. 

himself up as a rival to Darius. Hystaspes, the father 
of Darius, held at this time the Parthian satrapy. In 
two battles within the limits of his province he de- 
feated the rebels, who must have brought into the 
field a considerable force, since in one of the two 
engagements they lost in killed and prisoners between 
10,000 and 11,000 men. After their second defeat 
the Parthians made their submission, and once more 
acknowledged Darius for their sovereign. 1 

With these earliest Oriental notices of the Parthians 
agree entirely such passages as contain any mention of 
them in the more ancient literature of the Greeks. 
Hecatseus of Miletus, who was contemporary with 
Darius Hystaspis, made the Parthians adjoin upon the 
Chorasmians in the account which he gave of the 
geography of Asia. 2 Herodotus spoke of them as a 
people subject to the Persians in the reign of Darius, 
and assigned them to the sixteenth satrapy, which 
comprised also the Arians, the Sogdians, and the 
Chorasmians. 3 He said that they took part in the 
expedition of Xerxes against Greece (b.c. 480), 
serving in the army on foot under the same com- 
mander as the Chorasmians, and equipped like them 
with bows and arrows, and with spears of no great 
length. 4 In another passage he mentioned their being 
compelled to pay the Persian water tax, and spoke of 
the great need which they had of w T ater for the irri- 
gation of their millet and sesame crops. 5 

It is evident that these notices agree with the 
Persian accounts, both as to the locality of the Par- 
thians and as to the fact of their subjection to the 

1 Bchist. Ins. col. ii. par. 1C ; and 
col. iii. par. 1. 

2 Fr. 173. 

3 Herod, iii. 93. 

4 Ibid. vii. GG. Compare chap. G4. 

6 Ibid. iii. 117. 


Persian government. Tliey further agree in assigning 
to the Parthians a respectable military character, yet 
one of no very special eminency. On the ethnology 
of the nation, and the circumstances under which the 
country became an integral part of the Persian do- 
minions, they throw no light. We have still to seek 
an answer to the questions, w Who were the Par- 
thians ? ' and ' How did they become Persian sub- 
jects ? ' 

Who were the Parthians ? It is not until the Par- 
thians have emerged from obscurity and become a 
great people that ancient authors trouble themselves 
with inquiries as to their ethnic character and remote 
antecedents. Of the first writers who take the subject 
into their consideration, some are content to say that 
the Parthians were a race of Scyths, who at a remote 
date had separated from the rest of the nation, and 
had occupied the southern portion of the Chorasmian 
desert, whence they had gradually made themselves 
masters of the mountain region adjoining it. 1 Others 
added to this, that the Scythic tribe to which they 
belonged was called the Dahse ; that their own proper 
name was Parni, or Aparni ; and that they had 
migrated originally from the country to the north of 
the Palus MaBOtis, where they had left the great mass 
of their fellow tribesmen. 2 Subsequently, in the time 
of the Antonines, the theory was started that the 
Parthians were Scyths, whom Sesostris, on his return 
from his Scythian expedition, brought into Asia and 
settled in the mountain- tract lying east of the Caspian. 3 

It can scarcely be thought that these notices have 

1 As Trogus Pompeius, who is I 2 Strab. xi. 9, § 3. Compare xi. 
followed by Justin (xli. 1). I 8, § 2. 3 Arrian, Fr. 1. 



very much historical value. Moderns are generally 
agreed that the Scythian conquests of Sesostris are an 
invention of the Egyptian priests, -which they palmed 
on Herodotus 1 and Diodorus. 2 Could they be re- 
garded as having really taken place, still the march 
back from Scythia to Egypt round the north and east 
of the Caspian Sea would be in the highest degree 
improbable. The settlement of the Parthians in Parthia 
by the returning conqueror is, in fact, a mere duplicate 
of the tale commonly told of his having settled the 
Colchians in Colchis, 3 and is equally worthless. ' The 
earlier authors, moreover, know nothing of the^ story, 
which first appears in the second century after our 
era, and as time goes on, becomes more circum- 
stantial. 4 

Even the special connection of the Parthians with 
the Daha3, and their migration from the shores of the 
Palus Masotis, may be doubted. Strabo admits it to 
be uncertain whether there were any Dahse at all 
about the Mseotis ; 5 and, if there were, it would be 
open to question whether they were of the same race 
with the Dahas of the Caspian. As the settlement of 
the Parthians in the country called after their name 
dated from a time anterior to Darius Hystaspis, and 
the Greeks certainly did not set on foot any inquiries 
into their origin till at least two centuries later, 7 it 

1 See Herod, ii. 103. 

2 Diod. Sic. i. 55, § 4. 

3 Herod, ii. 104 ; Diod. Sic. 1. s. c. 

4 John of Malala knows the 
number of the colonists (15,000), 

Proper (Herod, i. 125), in Samaria 
(Ezr. iv. 9), in Thrace (Thuc. ii. 
90), in the tract east of the Caspian 
(Strab. ix. 8, § 2), &c. It is not 
probable that they were all really 

that they were all youths, and all I the same people 

warriors (p. 20 ; ed. Niebuhr). 7 The Greeks did not come into 

5 Strab. xi. 9, § 3. Ov irdvv c' I contact with the Parthians till 
wpoXoyurai Aaaq Aval nvac; tC>v virkp I j].c. 331. Probably they did not care 
Trjti NauoTioiHj Sm/tfwy. I much to inquire into their origin till 

c Dahre or Dai are found in a after B.C. 255. 
great variety of places, as in Persia | 


would be unlikely that the Parthians could give them 
a true account. The real groundwork of the stories 
told seems to have been twofold. First, there was a 
strong conviction on the part of those who came in 
contact with the Parthians, that they were Scyths ; 
and secondly, it was believed that their name meant 
' exiles.' 1 Hence it was necessary to suppose that 
they had migrated into their country from some portion 
of the tract known as Seythia to the Greeks, and it 
was natural to invent stories as to the particular cir- 
cumstances of the migration. 

The residuum of truth, or at any rate the important 
conviction of the ancient writers, which remains after 
their stories are sifted, is the Scythic character of the 
Parthian people. On this point, Strabo, Justin, and 
Arrian are agreed. The manners of the Parthians 
had, they tell us, much that was Scythic in them. 2 
Their language was half-Scythic, half-Median. 3 They 
armed themselves in the Scythic fashion. 4 They 
were, in fact, Scyths in descent, in habits, in character. 

But what are we to understand by this ? May we 
assume at once that they were a Turanian people, in 
race, habits, and language akin to the various tribes of 
Turkomans who are at present dominant over the 
entire region between the Oxus and the Parthian 
mountain-tract, and within that tract have many 
settlements ? May we assume that they stood in an 
attitude of natural hostility to the Arian nations 
by which they were surrounded, and that their revolt 

1 Justin, xli. 1; Eustath. ad I 3 Justin, xli. 2. * Sermo his inter 
Dionys. Per. 1. 1047. j Scythicum Medicumque medius, et 

2 Strab. xi. 9, § 2. 'Yd. iQq ra J ex utrisque mixtus.' 

txoi-a ttuXv n'tv to i36pj3apnv Kai tu , 4 Ibid. ' Armorum patrius ac 

SkvBikov. Compare Plin. II. N. vi. | Scytbicus nios.' 



was the assertion of independence by a down-trodden 
people after centuries of subjection to the yoke of a 
stranger ? Did Turan, in their persons, rise against 
Iran after perhaps a thousand years of oppression, and 
renew the struggle for predominance in regions where 
the war had been waged before, and where it still 
continues to be waged at the present day ? 

Such conclusions cannot safely be drawn from the 
mere fact that the Scythic character of the Parthians 
is asserted in the strongest terms by the ancient 
writers. The term 'Scythic 'is not, strictly speaking, 
ethnical. It designates a life rather than a descent, 
habits rather than blood. It is applied by the Greeks 
and Eomans to Indo-European and Turanian races 
indifferently, 1 provided that they are nomads, dwelling 
in tents or carts, living on the produce of their flocks 
and herds, uncivilised, and, perhaps it may be added, 
accustomed to pass their lives on horseback. We 
cannot, therefore, assume that a nation is Turanian, 
simply because it is pronounced ' Scythic/ Still, as in 
fact the bulk of those races which have remained 
content with the nomadic condition, and which from 
the earliest times to the present day have led the life 
above described in the broad steppes of Europe and 
Asia, appear to have been of the Turanian type, a 
presumption is raised in favour of a people being 
Turanian by decided and concordant statements that 
it is Scythic. The presumption may of course be 
removed by evidence to the contrary; but, until such 

1 Strabo calls the Massagetse I tended to the Sarmatians and the 

Scyths (xi. 8, § 2). Pliny not only 
includes under the name all the 
tribes between Armenia and 
Northern India (II. N. vi. 25), but 
regards it as having originally ex- 

Germans (ib. iv. 81). According 
to Strabo, some of the older Greek 
geographers called all the nations 
of the north either Scythians or 
Celto-Scythians (xi. C, § 2). . 

Cn. II.] 



evidence is produced it has weight, and constitutes an 
argument, the force of which is considerable. 

In the present instance, the presumption raised is 
met by no argument of any great weight ; while, on the 
other hand, it receives important confirmation from 
several different quarters. It is said, indeed, that as 
all, or almost all, the other nations of these parts were 
confessedly Arians (e.g. the Bactrians, the Sogdians, the 
Chorasmians, the Margians, the Arians of Herat, the 
Sagartians, the Sarangians, and the Hyrcanians), it 
would be strange if the Parthians belonged to a wholly 
different ethnic family. 1 But, in the first place, the 
existence of isolated nationalities, detached fragments 
of some greater ethnic mass, embodied amid alien 
material, is a fact familiar to ethnologists ; 2 and, further, 
it is not at all certain that there were not other Turanian 
races in these parts, as, for instance, the ThamanaBans. 
Again, it is said that the Parthians show their Arian 
extraction by their names ; but this argument may be 
turned against those who adduce it. It is true that 
among the Parthian names a considerable number are 
not only Arian, but distinctly Persian — e.g., Mithridates, 
Tiridates, Artabanus, Orobazus, Ehodaspes — but the 
bulk of the names have an entirely different character. 
There is nothing Arian in such appellations as Ammi- 
napes, Bacasis, Pacorus, Vonones, Sinnaces, Abdus, 
Abdageses, Gotarzes, Vologeses, Mnasciras, Sanatroeces ; 
nor anything markedly Arian in Priapatius, 3 Himerus, 

1 See the article on Parthia in 
Dr. Smith's Dictionary of Greek and 
Iioman Geography. 

2 The Etruscans in Italy, the 
Galatians in Asia Minor, the 
Basques in Spain, are cases in 
point. It would be easy to adduce 


3 Priapatius has indeed been 
explained as equivalent to the 
Zendic Frijapaitis, i lover of his 
father ' (Lassen, IndiscJw Alter- 
thumskunde, vol. ii. p. 285, note 3). 
But the etymology is uncertain. 


Orodes, Apra3ta3iis, Ornospades, Parrhaces, Vasaces, 
Monesis, Exedares. If the Farthians were Arians, what 
account is to be given of these words ? That they em- 
ployed a certain number of Persian names is sufficiently 
explained by their subjection during more than two 
centuries to the Persian rule. We are also distinctly 
told that they affected Persian habits, and desired to 
be looked upon as Persians. 1 The Arian names borne 
by Parthians no more show them to be Arians in race, 
than the Norman names adopted so widely by the 
Welsh show them to be Northmen. On the other 
hand, the non-Arian names in the former case are like 
the non-Norman names in the latter, and equally indi- 
cate a second source of nomenclature, in which should 
be contained the key to the true ethnology of the 

The non-Arian character of the Parthians is signi- 
fied, if not proved, by the absence of their name from 
the Zendavesta. The Zendavesta enumerates anions: 
Arian nations the Bactrians, the Sogdians, the Margians, 
the Hyrcanians, the Arians of Herat, and the Cho- 
rasmians, or al*l the important nations of these parts 
except the Parthians. The Parthian country it mentions 
under the name of Nisaya? or Nisasa, implying appa- 
rently that the Parthians were not yet settled in it. 
The only ready way of reconciling the geography of 
the Zendavesta with that of later ages is to suppose 
the Parthians a non-Arian nation, who intruded them- 
selves among the early Arian settlements, coming pro- 
bably from the north, the great home of the Turanians. 

Some positive arguments in favour of the Turanian 
origin of the Parthians may be based upon their 

1 Julian, Or. tie Constant, (jest. ii. ! ~ See Eitter's Erdkunde, vol. viii. 
p. G3, A. I p. 50. 


names. The Parthians affect, in their names, the ter- 
mination -ac or -ak, as, for instance, in Arsac-es, 
Sinnac-es, Parrhaces, Vasaces, SanatiTeces, Phraataces, 
&c. — a termination which characterises the primitive 
Babylonian, the Basque, and most of the Turanian 
tongues. The termination -geses, found in such names 
as Volo-geses, Abda-gcses, and the like, may be com- 
pared with the -gliiz of Yenghiz. The Turanian root 
annap, c God,' is perhaps traceable in Amm-inap-es. 
If the Parthian ' Chosroes ' represents the Persian 
' Kurush ' or Cyrus, the corruption which the word has 
undergone is such as to suggest a Tatar articulation. 

The remains of the Parthian language, which we 
possess, beyond their names, are too scanty and too 
little to be depended on to afford us any real assistance 
in settling the question of their ethnic character. 
Besides the words surena, ' commander-in-chief,' and 
karta or kerta, ' city,' ' fort,' there is scarcely one of 
which we can be assured that it was really understood 
by the Parthians in the sense assigned to it. 1 Of these 
two, the latter, which is undoubtedly Arian, may have 
been adopted from the Persians : 2 the former is non- 
Arian, but has no known Turanian congeners. 

If, however, the consideration of the Parthian lan- 
guage does not help us to determine their race, a con- 

1 Justin says that the word no explanation of his etymology. 
'Parthi' meant 'exiles' in the ! Ammianus tells us that a com- 
Scythic speech (xli. 1), but this de- mander of the cavalry was called 
rivation assumes the proper original by the Parthians ; but Hesy- 
form of the name to be Parada j chius alters both the word and the 
(Sanskrit 2 oar( ^ es ) = ' °f another meaning, making the former fiioraZ, 
country '), whereas the earliest and i and the latter i king.' 
probably most correct form is j 2 The Persian form seems to have 
JParthwa. (Compare Greek nap- ! been yarda, as in Parsngarda (Pliu. 

OvqvTj and UapOvaioi.) Lassen 
translates the word 'Parthi ' by 

JT. N. vi. 20), which became cor- 
rupted into Pasargada3. The Par- 

1 those who march over the bor- thian is, like the Armenian, certa, 
ders ' (lad. Alt. 1. s. c), but gives | as in Vologesocerta (ib. 1. s. c.) 


sideration of their manners and customs strengthens 
much the presumption that they were Turanians. Like 
the Turkoman and Tatar tribes generally, they passed 
almost their whole lives on horseback, conversing, 
transacting business, buying and selling, even eating on 
their horses. 1 They practised polygamy, secluded their 
women from the sight of men, punished unfaithfulness 
with extreme severity, delighted in hunting, and rarely 
ate any flesh but that which they obtained in this way, 
were moderate eaters 2 but great drinkers, 3 did not 
speak much, but yet were very unquiet, being con- 
stantly engaged in stirring up trouble either at home 
or abroad. 4 A small portion of the nation alone was 
free ; the remainder were the slaves of the privileged 
few. 5 Nomadic habits continued to prevail among a 
portion of those who remained in their primitive seats, 
even in the time of their greatest national prosperity ; & 
and a coarse, rude, and semi-barbarous character at- 
tached always even to the most advanced part of the 
nation, to the king, the court, and the nobles generally, 
a character which, despite a certain varnish of civilisa- 
tion, was constantly showing itself in their dealings 
with each other and with foreign nations. ' The 
Parthian monarchs,' as Gibbon justly observes, 7 ' like 
the Mogul (Mongol) sovereigns of Hindostan, delighted 
in the pastoral life of their Scythian ancestors, and the 
imperial camp was frequently pitched in the plain of 

1 Justin, xli. 3. 'Equis omni 
tempore vectantur : lllis bella, illis 
convivia, illis publica ac privata ne- 
gotia obeunt.' Compare Vambery's 

4 Justin, 1. s. c. ' Semper aut in 
externos aut in domesticos motus 
inquieti ; Datura taciti.' 

Ibid. xli. 2. Compare the case 

account of the modern Usbeprs | of the Mongols, where the ' Golden 

( Travels in Central Asia, p. 34o j Horde ' alone was free, 
and plate opposite). 6 Plin. II. N., vi. 25. 

Ibid. ' In cibum parci.' 7 Decline and Fall, vol. i. p. 341. 


3 Plin. II. N. xiv. 22. (Smith's edition.) 


Ctesiphon, on the eastern bank of the Tigris.' Niebuhr 
seems even to doubt whether the Parthians dwelt in 
cities at all. 1 He represents them as maintaining from 
first to last their nomadic habits, and regards the in- 
surrection by which their empire was brought to an 
end as a rising of the inhabitants of towns — the 
Tadjiks 2 of those times — against the Ilyats or wanderers, 
who had oppressed them for centuries. This is, no 
doubt, an over-statement ; but it has a foundation in 
fact, since wandering habits and even tent-life were 
affected by the Parthians during the most flourishing 
period of their empire. 

On the whole, the Turanian character of the 
Parthians, though not absolutely proved, appears to be 
in the highest degree probable. If it be accepted, we 
must regard them as in race closely allied to the vast 
hordes which from a remote antiquity have roamed 
over the steppe region of Upper Asia, from time to 
time bursting upon the south, and harassing or subju- 
gating the comparatively unwarlike inhabitants of the 
warmer countries. We must view them as the con- 
geners of the Huns, Bulgarians, and Comans of the 
ancient world ; of the Kalmucks, Ouigurs, Usbegs, 
Eleuts, &c, of the present day. Perhaps their nearest 
representatives will be, if we look to their primitive 
condition at the founding of their empire, the modern 
Turkomans, who occupy nearly the same districts ; if 
we regard them in the period of their great prosperity, 
the Osmanli Turks. Like the Turks, they combined 
great military prowess and vigour with a capacity for 
organisation and government not very usual among 

1 Lectures on Roman History, I settled Iranian population of Bok- 
vol. iii. p. 276 ; E. T. j hara and Kokand, see Vambery'& 

2 On the modern Tadjiks, the I Travels, pp. 367, 381, &c. 


Asiatics. Like them, they remained at heart bar- 
barians, though they put on an external appearance of 
civilisation and refinement. Like them, they never to 
any extent amalgamated with the conquered races, but 
continued for centuries an exclusive dominant race, 
encamped in the countries which they had overrun. 

The circumstances under "which the Parthians became 
subjects of the Persian empire may readily be con- 
jectured, but cannot be laid down positively. Ac- 
cording to Diodorus, who probably followed Ctesias, 
they passed from the dominion of the Assyrians to that 
of the Medes, and from dependence upon the Medes to 
a similar position under the Persians. 1 But the balance 
of evidence is against these views. It is, on the whole, 
most probable that neither the Assyrian nor the Median 
empire extended so far eastward as the country of the 
Parthians. 2 The Parthians probably maintained their 
independence from the time of their settlement in the 
district called after their name until the sudden arrival 
in their country of the great Persian conqueror, Cyrus. 
This prince, as Herodotus tells us, subdued the whole 
of Western Asia, proceeding from nation to nation, and 
subjugating one people after another. The order of 
his conquests is not traceable ; but it is clear that after 
his conquest of the Lydian empire (about B.C. 554), he 
proceeded eastward, with the special object of subduing 
Bactria. 3 To reach Bactria, he would have to pass 
through, or close by, Parthia. Since, as Herodotus 
says, 4 ' he conquered the whole way, as he went,' we 

1 Diod. Sic. ii. 2, § 3 ; 34, § 1 4 Herod, i. 177. T« idv v 

and § 6. 

2 See Ancient Monarchies, vol. ii. 
pp. 234 and 428 ; 2nd ed. 

TJ/t,* Aatrjc. ApTrayoQ avaararti 
k~citt' tu Se avu) avT?}Q avrag Kvpuc, 
av iBvoq k ar a a r p e (p 6 p. ev o t; 

Herod, i. 153. I cat ovdtv Trapislt;. 


may fairly conclude that on his road to Bactria lie sub- 
jugated the Parthians. It was thus, almost certainly, 
that they lost their independence and became Persian 
subjects. Competent enough to maintain themselves 
against the comparatively small tribes in their near 
neighbourhood, the Chorasmians, Hyrcanians, Arians 
of Herat, Bactrians, and Sagartians, it was not possible 
for them to make an effectual resistance to a monarch 
who brought against them the entire force of a mighty 
empire. Cyrus had, it is probable, little difficulty in 
obtaining their submission. It is possible that they 
resisted ; but perhaps it is more probable that their 
course on this occasion was similar to that which they 
pursued when the Macedonian conqueror swept across 
these same regions. The Parthians at that period sub- 
mitted without striking a blow. 1 There is no reason 
to believe that they caused any greater trouble to 

When the Persian empire was organised by Darius 
Hystaspis into satrapies, Parthia was at first united in 
the same government with Chorasmia, Sogdiana, and 
Aria.' 2 Subsequently, however, when satrapies were 
made more numerous, it was detached from these 
extensive countries, and made to form a distinct go- 
vernment, with the mere addition of the comparatively 
small district of Hyrcania. 3 It formed, apparently, 
one of the most tractable and submissive of the 
Persian provinces. Except on the single occasion 
already noticed, 4 when it took part in a revolt that ex- 
tended to nearly one-half the empire, 5 it gave its rulers 

1 Arrian, Exp. Al. iii. 25; Q 
Curt. Hist. Al. vi. 2. 

2 Herod, iii. 93. 

3 Strab. xi. 9, § 1. ZuvltIXh fxtra \ 411-413 ; 2nd ed. 
ruji' 'YpKavCJv kcitu tu. TltpoiKa. 

4 Supra, p. 15. 

5 Behist. Ins. col. ii. par. 2. Com- 

pare Ancient Monarchies, vol. iii. pp. 


no trouble ; no second attempt was made to shake off 
the alien yoke, which may indeed have galled, but 
which was felt to be inevitable. In the final struggle 
of Persia against Alexander, the Parthians were faithful 
to their masters. They fought on the Persian side at 
Arbela ; * and though they submitted to Alexander 
somewhat tamely when he invaded their country, yet, 
as Darius was then dead, and no successor had de- 
clared himself, they cannot be taxed with desertion. 
Probably they felt little interest in the event of the 
struggle. Habit and circumstance caused them to send 
their contingent to Arbela at the call of the Great King; 
but when the Persian cause was evidently lost, they 
felt it needless to make further sacrifices. Having no 
hope of establishing their independence, they thought 
it unnecessary to prolong the contest. They might 
not gain, but they could scarcely lose, by a change of 

1 Arrian, iii. 8 ; Q. Curt. iv. 12. 



Condition of Western Asia wider the earlier SeleucidcB. Revolts of Bactria 
and Tarthia. Conflicting accounts of the establishment of the Parthian 
Kingdom. First War icith Syria. 

Tb edi'os MaKed6voov aireffTriaav, /ecu k<x0' savrovs ^p^av, koL iiri /xeya dwdfxews 

^\a<rav. — Arrian, Fr. 1. 

Tin: attempt of Alexander the Great to unite the whole 
civilised world in a single vast empire might perhaps 
have been a success if the mind which conceived the 
end, and which had to a considerable extent elaborated 
the means, had been spared to watch over its own 
w T ork, and conduct it past the perilous period of infancy 
and adolescence. But the premature decease of the 
great Macedonian in the thirty-third year of his age, 
when his plans of fusion and amalgamation were only 
just beginning to develop themselves, and the un- 
fortunate fact that among his ' Successors ' there was 
not one who inherited either his grandeur of concep- 
tion or his powers of execution, caused his scheme at 
once to collapse ; and the effort to unite and consolidate 
led only to division and disintegration. In lieu of 
Europe being fused with Asia, Asia itself was split up. 
For nearly a thousand years, from the formation of the 
great Assyrian empire to the death of Darius Codo- 
mannus, Western Asia, from the Mediterranean to AfF- 
ghanistan, or even to India, had been united under one 
head, had acknowledged one sovereign. Assyria, Media, 
Persia, had successively held the position of dominant 
power ; and the last of the three had given union, and 


consequently peace, to a wider stretch of country and 
a vaster diversity of peoples than either of her prede- 
cessors. Under the mild yoke of the Achsemenian 
princes had been held together for two centuries, not 
only all the nations of Western Asia, from the Indian 
and Thibetan deserts to the iEgean and the Mediter- 
ranean, but a great part of Africa also, that is to say,. 
Egypt, north-eastern Libya, and the Greek settlements 
of Cyrene and Barca. The practical effect of the 
conquests of Alexander was to break up this unity, to 
introduce in the place of a single consolidated empire, 
a multitude of separate and contending kingdoms. The 
result was thus the direct opposite of the great con- 
queror's design, and forms a remarkable instance of the 
contradiction which so often subsists between the pro- 
positions of man and the dispositions of an overruling 

The struggle for power which broke out almost im- 
mediately after his death among the successors of 
Alexander may be regarded as having been brought to 
a close by the battle of Ipsus. The period of fermen- 
tation was then concluded, and something like a settled 
condition of things brought about. A quadripartite 
division of Alexander's dominions was recognised, Mace- 
donia, Egypt, Asia Minor, and Syria (or south-western 
Asia) becoming thenceforth distinct political entities. 
Asia Minor, the kingdom of Lysimachus, had indeed 
less of unity than the other three states. It was already 
disintegrated, the kingdoms of Bithynia, Pontus, and 
Cappadocia, subsisting side by side with that of Lysi- 
machus, which was thus limited to western and south- 
western Asia Minor. After the death of Lysimachus 
farther changes occurred ; but the state of Pergamus, 
which sprang up at this time, may be regarded as the 



continuation of Lysimachus's kingdom, and as consti- 
tuting from the time of Eumenes I. (b.c. 263) a fourth 
power in the various political movements and combina- 
tions of the Groeco-Oriental world. 

Of the four powers thus established, the most im- 
portant, and that with which we are here especially 
concerned, was the kingdom of Syria (as it was called), 
or that ruled for 247 years by the Seleucidge. Seleucus 
Nicator, the founder of this kingdom, was one of 
Alexander's officers, but served without much distinc- 
tion through the various campaigns by which the con- 
quest of the East was effected. 1 At the first distribu- 
tion of provinces (b.c. 323) among Alexander's generals 
after his death, he received no share ; 2 and it was not 
until B.C. 320, when upon the death of Perdiccas a 
fresh distribution was made at Triparaclisus, that his 
merits were recognised, and he was given the satrapy 
of Babylon. 3 In this position he acquired a character 
for mildness and liberality, and made himself generally 
beloved, both by his soldiers and by those who were 
under his government. 4 In the struggle between Anti- 
gonus and Eumenes (b.c. 317-316), he embraced the 
side of the former, and did him some good service ; 
but this, instead of evoking gratitude, appears to have 
only roused in Antigonus a spirit of jealousy. The 
ambitious aspirant after universal dominion, seeing in 
the popular satrap a possible, and far from a contemp- 
tible, rival, thought it politic to sweep him out of his 
way ; and the career of Seleucus would have been cut 
short, had he not perceived his peril in time, and by a 
precipitate flight secured his safety. Accompanied by 

1 Seleucus is rarely mentioned 
bv Arrian. His name occurs only 
iny. 13, 16; yii. 4 and 26. 

2 See Thirlwall, Hist, of Greece, 

vol. yii. pp. 139,^ 140; Grote, Hist 
of Greece, yol. viii. p. 517. 

3 Thirlwall, yol. yii. p. 245. 

4 Ibid. p. 308. 



[Ch. HI. 

a body of no more than fifty horsemen, lie took the 
road for Egypt, escaped the pursuit of a detachment 
sent to overtake him, and threw himself on the protec- 
tion of Ptolemy. 

This event, untoward in appearance, proved the 
turning-point in Seleucus's fortunes. It threw him into 
irreconcilable hostility with Antigonus, while it brought 
him forward before the eyes of men as one whom Anti- 
gonus feared. It gave him an opportunity of showing 
liis military talents in the West, and of obtaining favour 
with Ptolemy, and with all those by whom Antigonus 
was dreaded. When the great struggle came between 
the confederate monarchs and the aspirant after uni- 
versal dominion, it placed him on the side of the allies. 
Having recovered Babylon (b.c. 312), Seleucus led the 
flower of the eastern provinces to the field of Ipsus 
(B.C. 301), and contributed largely to the victory, thus 
winning himself a position among the foremost poten- 
tates of the day. By the terms of the agreement made 
after Ipsus, Seleucus was recognised as monarch of all 
the Greek conquests in Asia, with the sole exceptions 
of Lower Syria and Asia Minor. 1 

The monarchy thus established extended from the 
Holy Land and the Mediterranean on the west, to 
the Indus valley and the Bolor mountain-chain upon 
the east, and from the Caspian and Jaxartes towards the 
north, to the Persian Gulf and Indian Ocean towards 
the south. It comprised Upper Syria, Mesopotamia, 
parts of Cappadocia and Phrygia, Armenia, 2 Assyria, 

1 Thirl wall, vol. vii. p. 401; 
Grote, vol. viii. p. 576. 

2 Bishop Thirhvall notes that 
Armenia, shortly before the battle of 
Ipsus, was independent underAr- 
doates, a native king (vol. vii. p. 
402, and compare Diod. Sic. xxxi. 
19, § 5), and suggests that after 

Ipsus Seleucus was too much en- 
gaged with other affairs to bring 
Armenia under. But either Seleu- 
cus or one of his early successors 
must have reconquered Armenia, 
for it did not permanently establish 
its independence till B.C. 190. 
(Strab. xi. 14, § 5.) 


Media, Babylonia, Susiana, Persia, Carmania, Sagartia, 
Hyrcania, Parthia, Bactria, Sogdiana, Aria, Zarangia, 
Arachosia, Sacastana, Gedrosia, and probably some 
part of India. 1 Its entire area could not have been 
much less than 1,200,000 square miles. Of these, some 
300,000 or 400,000 may have been desert ; but the 
remainder was generally fertile, and comprised within 
its limits some of the very most productive regions in the 
whole world. The Mesopotamia!! lowland, the Orontes 
valley, the tract between the Caspian and the moun- 
tains, the regions about Merv and Balkh, were among 
the richest in Asia, and produced grain and fruits in 
incredible abundance. The rich pastures of Media 
and Armenia furnished excellent horses. Bactria gave 
an inexhaustible supply of camels. Elephants in large 
numbers were readily procurable from India, 2 Gold, 
silver, copper, iron, lead, tin, were furnished by several 
of the provinces, and precious stones of various kinds 
abounded. 3 Moreover, for above ten centuries, the 
precious metals and the most valuable kinds of mer- 
chandise had flowed from every quarter into the 
region ; and though the Macedonians may have car- 
ried off, or wasted, a considerable quantity of both, yet 
the accumulations of ages withstood the drain, and the 
hoarded wealth which had come down from Assyrian, 
Babylonian, and Median times was to be found in the 
days of Seleucus chiefly within the limits of his Empire. 
The situation which nature pointed out as most 
suitable for the capital of a kingdom having the exten- 

1 Its limits eastward are some- 
what doubtful. Seleucus appears 
to have ceded a portion, at any rate, 
of his Indian possessions to Sand- 
racottus before Ipsus. (Thirlwall, 
vol. vii. p. 395.) 

2 Sandracottus presented Seleu- 

cus with 500 of these animals 
(Strab. xv. 2, § 9). They were 
largely used both by him and by 
his successors in their wars. 

3 See, for details of the localities, 
Ancient Monarchies, vol. iii. pp. 
158-162, 2nd edit. 




[Ch. III. 

sion that has been here indicated, was some portion of 
the Mesopotamian valley, which was at once central 
and fertile. The empire of Seleucus might have been 
conveniently ruled from the site of the ancient Mneveh,. 
or from either of the two still existing and still flourish- 
ing cities of Susa and Babylon. The impetus given to 
commerce by the circumstances of the time * rendered 
a site near the sea preferable to one so remote as that 
of Nineveh, and the same consideration made a position 
on the Tigris or Euphrates more advantageous than 
one upon a smaller river. So far, all pointed to 
Babylon as the natural and best metropolis ; and it 
was further in favour of that place that its merits had 
struck the Great Conqueror, who had designed to make 
it the capital of his own still vaster Empire. 2 Accord- 
ingly Babylon was Seleucus's first choice ; and there 
his Court was held for some years previously to his 
march against Antigonus. But either certain disad- 
vantages were found to attach to Babylon as a residence, 
or the mere love of variety and change caused him 
very shortly to repent of his selection, and to transfer 
his capital to another site. He founded, and built with 
great rapidity, the city of Seleucia upon the Tigris, 3 at 
the distance of about forty miles from Babylon, and 
had transferred thither the seat of government even 
before e.g. 301. Thus far, however, no fault had been 
committed. The second capital was at least as con- 
veniently placed as the first, and would have served 
equally well as a centre from which to govern the 

1 Thirlwall, Hist, of Greece, vol. 
vii. p. 120. 

2 This is rather indicated by the 
pains which he took to improve 
Babylon (Arr. Exp. Al. vii. 17, 19, 
21) than distinctly declared by any 
important authorities. It has been 

recognised as tolerably certain by 
several modern writers. (See Dr. 
Smith's Diet, of Biography, vol. i. 
p. 122, &c.) 

3 Strab. xvi. 1 
vi. 26. 

5; Plin.7f.iV. 


Empire. But after Ipsus a further change was made — 
a change that was injudicious in the extreme. Either 
setting undue store by his newly-acquired western pro- 
vinces, or over-anxious to keep close watch on his 
powerful neighbours in those parts, Lysimachus and 
Ptolemy, Seleucus once more transferred the seat of 
empire, exchanging this time the valley of the Tigris for 
that of the Orontes, and the central position of Lower 
Mesopotamia for almost the extreme western point of 
his vast territories. Antioch arose in extraordinary 
beauty and magnificence during the first few years that 
succeeded Ipsus, and Seleucus in a short time made it 
his ordinary residence. 1 The change weakened the 
ties which bound the Empire together, offended the 
bulk of the Asiatics, who saw their monarch withdraw 
from them into a remote region, and particularly 
loosened the grasp of the government on those more 
eastern districts which were at once furthest from the 
new metropolis and least assimilated to the Hellenic 
character. Among the causes which led to the dis- 
integration of the Seleucid kingdom, there is none 
that deserves so well to be considered the main cause 
as this. It was calculated at once to produce the de- 
sire to revolt, and to render the reduction of revolted 
provinces difficult, if not impossible. 

The evil day, however, might have been indefinitely 
delayed had the Seleucid princes either established and 
maintained through their Empire a vigorous and effective 
administration, or abstained from entangling themselves 
in wars with their neighbours in the West, the Ptolemies 
and the princes of Asia Minor. 

But the organisation of the Empire was unsatisfac- 
tory. Instead of pursuing the system inaugurated by 

1 Strab. xvi. 2, § 4. 
d 2 



[Cn. in. 

Alexander and seeking to weld the heterogeneous ele- 
ments of which his kingdom was composed into a 
homogeneous whole, instead of at once conciliating and 
elevating the Asiatics by uniting them with the Mace- 
donians and the Greeks, by promoting intermarriage 
and social intercourse between the two classes of his 
subjects, educating the Asiatics in Greek ideas and 
Greek schools, opening his court to them, promoting 
them to high employments, making them feel that they 
were as much valued and as well cared for as the people 
of the conquering race, 1 the first Seleucus, and after 
him his successors, fell back upon the old simpler, 
ruder system, the system pursued before Alexander's 
time by the Persians, and before them perhaps by the 
Medes — the system most congenial to human laziness 
and human pride — that of governing a nation of slaves 
by means of a class of victorious aliens. Seleucus divided 
his empire into satrapies, seventy-two in number. He 
bestowed the office of satrap on none but Macedonians 
and Greeks. The standing army, by which he main- 
tained his authority, was indeed composed in the main 
of Asiatics, disciplined after the Greek model ; but it 
was officered entirely by men of Greek or Macedonian 
parentage. Nothing was done to keep up the self- 
respect of the Asiatics, or to soften the unpleasantness 
that must always attach to being governed by foreigners. 
Even the superintendence over the satraps seems to 
have been insufficient. According to some writers, it 
was a gross outrage offered by a satrap to an Asiatic 
subject that stirred up the Parthians to their revolt. 2 
The story may not be true ; but its currency shows of 
what conduct towards those under their government 

1 On the views and intentions of 
Alexander, see the excellent re- 
marks of Bishop Thirlwall {Hist. 

of Greece, vol. vii. pp. 119-125). 

the satraps of the Seleucicke were thought, by such as 
lived near the time, to have been capable. 

It would, perhaps, have been difficult for the Seleucid 
princes, even had they desired it, to pursue a policy of 
absolute abstention in the wars of their western neigh- 
bours. So long as they were resolute to maintain their 
footing on the right bank of the Euphrates, in Phrygia, 
Cappadocia, and Upper Syria, they were of necessity 
mixed up with the quarrels of the west. Could they 
have been content to withdraw within the Euphrates, 
they might have remained for the most part clear of 
such entanglements ; but even then there would have 
been occasions when they must have taken the field in 
self-defence. As it was, however, the idea of absten- 
tion seems never to have occurred to them. It was the 
fond dream of each ' Successor ' of Alexander that in 
his person might, perhaps, be one day united all the 
territories of the great Conqueror. Seleucus would 
have felt that he sacrificed his most cherished hopes if 
he had allowed the west to go its own way, and had 
contented himself with consolidating a great power in 
the regions east of the Euphrates. 

And the policy of the founder of the house was fol- 
lowed by his successors. The three Seleucid sovereigns 
who reigned prior to the Parthian revolt were, one and 
all, engaged in frequent, if not continual, wars with 
the monarchs of Egypt and Asia Minor. The first 
Seleucus, by his claim to the sovereignty of Lower 
Syria, established a ground of constant contention with 
the Ptolemies ; 1 and though he did not prosecute the 
claim to the extent of actual hostility, yet in the reign 
of his son, Antiochus I., called Soter, the smothered 
quarrel broke out. Soter fomented the discontent of 

1 Diod. Sic. xxi. 5. 



[Cn. m. 

Cyrene with its subjection to Egypt, 1 and made at least 
one expedition against Ptolemy Philadelphia in person 
(b.c. 2G4). His efforts did not meet with much suc- 
cess ; but they were renewed by his son, Antiochus II., 
surnamed ' the God ' (®sog), who warred with Phila- 
delphia from B.C. 2G0 to B.C. 250, contending with him 
chiefly in Asia Minor. 2 These wars were complicated 
with others. The first Antiochus aimed at adding the 
kingdom of Bithynia to his dominions, and attacked 
successively the Bithynian monarchs, Zipoetas 3 and 
Nicomedes I. (b.c. 280-278). 4 This aggression brought 
him into collision with the Gauls, whom Nicomedes 
called to his aid, and with whom Antiochus had several 
stru^o'les, some successful and some disastrous. 5 He 
also attacked Eumenes of Pergamus (b.c. 263), but was 
defeated in a pitched battle near Sardis. 6 The second 
Antiochus was not engaged in so great a multiplicity of 
contests ; but we hear of his taking a part in the in- 
ternal affairs of Miletus, 7 and expelling a certain Timar- 
chus, who had made himself tyrant of that city. There 
is also some ground for thinking that he had a stand- 
ing quarrel with the king of Media Atropatene. 8 Alto- 
gether it is evident that from B.C. 280 to B.C. 250 the 
Seleucid princes were incessantly occupied with wars in 
the west, in Asia Minor and in Syria Proper, wars 
which so constantly engaged them that they had neither 
time nor attention to spare for the affairs of the far 
east. So long as the Bactrian and Parthian satraps 

1 Pausan. i. 7, § 3. 

2 On this war, see Niebuhr, 
Lectures on And. History ', vol. iii. 
p. 28G, E.T. 

3 Memnon, Be rebus Heracl. 
xx. 3. 

4 Ibid. xvi. 

5 Antiochus I. obtained his name 
of Soter (Saviour) from a victory- 

over the Gauls (Appian, Syriaca, 
p. 130, C.) He was slain in a 
battle against the same enemy 
(Phylarch. ap. Plin. II. K. viii. 42 ; 
^Elian, II. An. vi. 44). 

6 Strab. xiii. 4, § 2. 

7 Appian, Syr. p. 130, D. 

8 Strab. xi. 9, § 2. 



paid their tributes, and supplied the requisite quotas 
of troops for service in the western wars, the Antiochi 
were content. The satraps were left to manage affairs 
at their own discretion ; and it is not surprising that 
the absence of a controlling hand led to various com- 
plications and disorders. 

Moreover, the personal character of the second 
Antiochus must be taken into account. The vanity 
and impiety, which could accept the name of ' Theus ' 
for a service that fifty other Greeks had rendered to 
oppressed towns without regarding themselves as 
having done anything very remarkable, 1 would alone 
indicate a weak and contemptible morale ', and might 
justify us, did we know no more, in regarding the 
calamities of his reign as the fruit of his own unfitness 
to rule an empire. But there is sufficient evidence that 
he had other, and worse, vices. He was noted, even 
among Asiatic sovereigns, for luxury and debauchery ; 
he neglected all state affairs in the pursuit of pleasure ; 
his wives and male favourites were allowed to rule his 
kingdom at their will ; and their most flagrant crimes 
were neither restrained nor punished. 2 Such a character 
could have inspired neither respect nor fear. The satraps, 
to whom the conduct of their sovereign could not but 
become known, would be partly encouraged to follow 
the bad example, partly provoked by it to shake them- 
selves free of so hateful and yet contemptible a master. 

It was, probably, about the year B.C. 256, the fifth 
of the second Antiochus, when that prince, hard pressed 
by Philadelphus in the west, was also, perhaps, engaged 
in a war with the king of Atropatene in the north, that 

1 The title was conferred "by the 
Milesians on the expulsion of Ti- 
nmrchus. (See above, note 5 on p. 

2 See Niebuhr's Lectures, vol. iii. 
pp. 28G, 287 ; and compare Athen. 
Deipnosoph. ii. p. 45; x. p. 438; 
Hieronym. ad Dan. xi. &c. 



[Cn. III. 

the standard of revolt was first actually raised in the 
eastern provinces, and a Syrian satrap ventured to de- 
clare himself an independent sovereign. This was 
Diodotus, 1 satrap of Bactria, a Greek, as his name 
shows. Suddenly assuming the state and style of king, 
he issued coins stamped with his own name, and esta- 
blished himself without difficulty as sovereign over the 
large and flourishing province of Bactria, 2 or the tract 
of fertile land about the upper and middle Oxus. 
This district had from a remote antiquity been one 
with special pretensions. The country was fertile, and 
much of it strong ; the people were hardy and- valiant ; 3 
they were generally treated with exceptional favour by 
the Persian monarchs ; 4 and they seem to have had 
traditions which assigned them a preeminence among 
the Arian tribes at some indefinitely distant period. 5 

1 Justin gives the Dame as Theo- 
dotus (Justin, xli. 4) ; but Diodotus, 
which is the form used by Strabo 
(xi. 9, § 3), appears upon the 

Bactrian coins (Lassen, Indische 
Alterthumsk. vol. ii. p. 284; Num. 
Chr. New Series, vol. viii. p. 278). 
2 Justin's ' thousand Bactrian. 

Coin of Diodotus I. 

cities ' (xli. 1) are no doubt an ex- 
aggeration, but they indicate a 
truth — that the country was popu- 
lous and flourishing. 

3 The Bactrians were among the 
nations selected by Mardonius to 
continue the struggle with the 
Greeks when the bulk of Xerxes' 
army returned home (Herod, viii. 
113). They fought well at Arbela 
(Arr. Exp. Al. iii. 13 ; Q. Curt. iv. 
1 5 ; § 18), and offered a strenuous re- 

sistance to Alexander (Arr. iv. l-22)» 

4 Bactria was made generally a 
sort of royal appanage. It was 
conferred by Cyrus on his second 
son, Smerdis (Ctes. Exc. Pers. § 8). 
In the reign of Xerxes it was first 
held by his brother, Masistes (He- 
rod, ix. 113), and afterwards by 
another brother, Hystaspes (Diod. 
Sic. xi. 69). 

5 See Ancient Monarchies, vol.. 
iii. p. 380, 2nd edit. 


We may presume that they would gladly support the 
bold enterprise of their new monarch ; they would feel 
their vanity flattered by the establishment of an inde- 
pendent Bactria, even though it were under Greek 
kings ; and they would energetically second him in an 
enterprise which gratified their pride, while it held out 
to them hopes of a career of conquest, with its con- 
comitants of plunder and glory. The settled quiet 
which they had enjoyed under the Acha3menida3 and 
the Seleucida) was probably not much to their taste ; 
and they would gladly exchange so tame and dull a 
life for the pleasures of independence and the chances 
of empire. 

It would seem that Antiochus, sunk in luxury at 
his capital, could not bring himself to make even 
an effort to check the spirit of rebellion, and recover 
his revolted subjects. Bactria was allowed to establish 
itself as an independent monarchy, without having 
to undergo the ordeal of a bloody struggle. Antiochus 
neither marched against Diodotus in person, nor sent 
a general to contend with him. The authority of 
Diodotus was confirmed and riveted on his subjects 
by an undisturbed reign of eighteen years before a 
Syrian army even showed itself in his neighbourhood. 

The precedent of successful revolt thus set could 
not well be barren of consequences. If one province 
might throw off the yoke of its feudal lord with 
impunity, why might not others ? Accordingly, within 
a few years the example set by Bactria was followed 
in the neighbouring country of Parthia, but with 
certain very important differences. In Bactria the 
Greek satrap took the lead, and the Bactrian kingdom 
was, at any rate at its commencement, as thoroughly 
Greek as that of the Seleucidse. But in Parthia Greek 


rule was from the first cast aside. The natives re- 
belled against their masters. An Asiatic race of a 
rude and uncivilized type, coarse and savage, but 
brave and freedom-loving, rose up against the polished 
but effeminate Greeks who held them in subjection, 
and claimed and established their independence. The 
Parthian kingdom was thoroughly anti-Hellenic. 1 It 
appealed to patriotic feelings, and to the hate uni- 
versally felt towards the stranger. It set itself to 
undo the work of Alexander, to cast out the Euro- 
peans, to recover to the Asiatics the possession of 
Asia, It was naturally almost as hostile to Bactria 
as to Syria, although danger from a common enemy 
might cause it sometimes to make a temporary alliance 
with that kingdom. It had, no doubt, the general 
sympathy of the populations in the adjacent countries, 
and represented to them the cause of freedom and 

The exact circumstances under which the Parthian 
revolt took place are involved in much obscurity. 
According to one account the leader of the revolt, 
Arsaces, was a Bactrian, to whom the success of 
Diodotus was disagreeable, and who therefore quitted 
the newly-founded kingdom, and betook himself to 
Parthia, where he induced the natives to revolt and 
to accept him for their monarch. 2 Another account, 
which is attractive from the minute details into which 
it enters, is the following : — c Arsaces and Tiridates 
were brothers, descendants of Phriapites, the son of 

1 It is true that the Parthians I correct one. It applies especially 
used the Greek language on their to the early kingdom — from B.C. 
coins and for inscriptions, and also I 250 to B.C. 127. 
that some of their kings took the I 2 Strabo (xi. 9, § 3) mentions 
title of <b>i\'h\\i])'. Still I believe | this view, but implies his own dis- 
the statement in the text to be a ' sent from it. 



Arsaces. Pherecles, who had been made satrap of their 
country by Antiochus Theus, offered a gross insult 
to one of them, whereupon, as they could not brook 
the indignity, they took five men into counsel, and 
with their aid slew the insolent one. They then 
induced their nation to revolt from the Macedonians 
and set up a government of their own, which attained 
to great power.' 1 A third version says that the Arsaces, 
whom all represent as the first king, was in reality a 
Scythian, who at the head of a body of Parnian Dahas, 
nomads inhabiting the valley of the Attrek (Ochus), 
invaded Parthia, soon after the establishment of Bac- 
trian independence, and succeeded in making himself 
master of it. 2 With this account, which Strabo seems 
to prefer, agrees tolerably well that of Justin, who 
says 3 that ' Arsaces, having been long accustomed to 
live by robbery and rapine, attacked the Parthians 
with a predatory band, killed their satrap, Andragoras, 
and seized the supreme authority.' As there was in 
all probability a close ethnic connection between the 
Daha3 and the Parthians, 4 it would be likely enough 
that the latter might accept for king a chieftain of 
the former, who had boldly entered their country, 
challenged the Greek satrap to an encounter, and by 
defeating and killing him, freed them — at any rate for 
the time — from the Greek yoke. An oppressed people 
gladly adopts as chief the head of an allied tribe, if he 
has shown skill and daring, and offers to protect them 
from their oppressors. 

1 An*. Fr. 1. Compare Syncell. 
p. 284, B, and Zosimus, i. 18. The 

latter Says . 'Auodicrjg 6 napVvaioc, 
Cld n)v tig rhv act\<pbv 'Yi]pi^a.Tijv 
vppiv dyai'aKTijrrac, irSXffiov Trpuc 
tuv ' Avti(')%ov aa~pcnri]v dpa/xtvoCf 

airiav 'icujice -tug TlapGvaloiQ kic(3a\ou<u 
MciKiCovac, tig kavruvg t))v <-'ipx^)v 

2 Strab. xi.9, § 2. 

3 Justin, xli. 4. 

4 See above, p. 17. 



[On. III. 

The revolt of Arsaces has been placed by some as 
early as the year B.C. 256. * The Bactrian revolt is 
assigned by most historians to that year ; 2 and the 
Parthian, according to some, 3 was contemporary. The 
best authorities, however, give a short interval between 
the two insurrections ; 4 and, on the whole, there is 
perhaps reason to regard the Parthian independ- 
ence as dating from about B.C. 250. 5 This year was 
the eleventh of Antiochus Theus, and fell into the 
time when he was still engaged in his war with 
Ptolemy Philadelphia. It might have been expected 
that when he concluded a peace with the Egyptian 
monarch in B.C. 249, he would have turned his arms 
at once towards the east, and have attempted at any 
rate the recovery of his lost dominions. But, as 
already stated, 6 his personal character was weak, and 

1 Frolich, Annales Regum Syriaa, 
p. 26 ; Heeren, Manual of Ancient 
Histori/, p. 299, E.T. Mr. P. Smith 
(Ancient History, vol. ii. p. 92), 
and Mr. Lindsay (History and 
Coinage of the Parthians, p. 4), 
taking- the later part of the same 
Olympic year, make the Bactrian 
kingdom to have been founded in 
B.C. 255. 

Major Cunningham has recently 
argued for the low date of B.C. 246 
(Num. Chron. New Series, vol. 
viii. pp. 261-265) ; by which the 
Bactrian revolt is made to fall four 
years later than the Parthian. But 
Strabo, whom he confesses to be 
the main authority, is clear that 
Bactria set the example of revolt, 
which Parthia followed (Geograph. 
xi. 9, § 2 and § 3). 

2 See Wilson, Ariana Antiqua, 
p. 216, note 1. 

3 Justin says, after speaking of 
the Parthian revolt : ' Eodem tern- 
pore eti&m Theodotus, mille urbium 

(xli. 4). 

prsefectus, defecit ' 

4 Strabo says: Upwrov fiiv n)v 
BcncT()iai'))v amoTiiaav oi TrnriOTix- 
fih'Oi . . . i 7T t it 'ApaaKtjg . . . S7rf/\- 
Oev tiri rr\v HapOuaiov tcai kicpari/atv 

avTijc. This authority is followed 
by Droysen (Geschichte des Hellcn- 
ismus, vol. ii. § 331), Lassen (In- 
dische Altertfaimshunde, vol. ii. p. 
284), Mr. P. Smith (Ancient His- 
tory, vol. ii. pp. 91, 92), and most 

5 Justin places it in the consul- 
ship of L. Manlius Vulso and M. 
Atilius Regulus, which was B.C. 
256. But M. Atiliua is probably 
an error for C. Atilius, who was 
consul with L. Manlius Vulso in 
B.C. 250. Eusebius distinctly places 
the revolt of the Parthians in this 
year (Chron. Can. ii. p. 352) ; and 
Moses of Chorene exactly agrees, 
when he assigns it to the eleventh 
year of Antiochus Theus. (Hist. 
Armen. ii. 1, ad Jin.) Compare 
Samuel Aniens. Sum. Temp. i. 7, 
§ 13. 

6 See above, p. 39. 



lie preferred the pleasures of repose at Antioch to the 
hardships of a campaign in the Caspian region. So 
far as we hear, he took no steps to re-establish his 
authority ; and Arsaces, like Diodotus, was left un- 
disturbed to consolidate his power at his leisure. 

Arsaces lived, however, but a short time after 
obtaining the crown. His authority was disputed 
within the limits of Parthia itself; and he had to 
engage in hostilities with a portion of his own sub- 
jects. 1 We may suspect that the malcontents were 
chiefly, if not solely, those of Greek race, who may 
have been tolerably numerous, and whose strength 
would lie in the towns. Hecatompylos, the chief city 
of Parthia, was among the colonies founded by 
Alexander; 2 and its inhabitants would naturally be 
disinclined to acquiesce in the rule of a ' barbarian.' 
Within little more than two years of his coronation, 
Arsaces, who had never been able to give his kingdom 
peace, was killed in battle by a spear-thrust in the 
side; 3 and was succeeded (b.c. 247) by his brother, 
having left, it is probable, no sons, or none of mature 


Tiridates, the successor of Arsaces, took upon his 
accession his brother's name, and is known in history 
as Arsaces II. The practice thus begun passed into 
a custom, 4 each Parthian monarch from henceforth 
bearing as king the name of Arsaces in addition to his 
own real appellation, whatever that might be. In the 
native remains the assumed name almost supersedes 

1 Strab. xi. 9, § 2. Kar' apx^Q 
fikv ovv aaQtviiQ H\v Sia.7ru\tfiu>v Trpbg 
rove (MpaiptOsvTctQ tt)v xwpav. 

2 " Q. Curt. vi. 2. 

3 Suidas ad yoc. 'Apa&KtiQ, Syn- 

cellus indicates that his death was 
violent (vol. i. p. 540). 

4 See Justin, xli. 5 ; Strab. xv. 1, 
§ 36; Mos. Chor. ii. lj Amm. 
Marc, xxiii. 6, &c. 



[Cn. m. 

the other ; 1 but, fortunately, the Greek and Eoman 
writers who treat of Parthian affairs, have preserved 
the distinctive appellations, and thus saved the Parthian 
history from inextricable confusion. It is not easy to 
see from what quarter this practice was adopted ; 2 
perhaps we should regard it as one previously existing 
among the Dalian Scyths. 

If the Parthian monarchy owed its origin to Arsaces L, 
it owed its consolidation and settled establishment to 
Arsaces II., or Tiridates. This prince, who had the 
good fortune to reign for above thirty years, 3 and 
who is confused by many writers 4 with the actual 
founder of the monarchy, having received Parthia 
from his brother, in the weak and unsettled condition 
above described, left it a united and powerful king- 
dom, enlarged in its boundaries, strengthened in its 
defences, in alliance with its nearest and most for- 
midable neighbour, and triumphant over the great 
power of Syria, which had hoped to bring it once 
more into subjection. He ascended the throne, it is 
probable, early in B.C. 247, and had scarcely been 
monarch a couple of years when he witnessed one of 
those vast, but transient revolutions to which Asia 
is subject, but which are of rare occurrence in Europe. 
Ptolemy Euergetes, the son of Philadelphus, having 
succeeded to his father's kingdom in the same year 

1 All the Parthian coins bear the 
name of Arsaces. A few compara- 
tively have the special name of the 
monarch in addition. (See Clinton, 
F. R. vol. ii. p. 252; Lindsay, 
History of the Parthians, pp. 134- 
1G3, and plates 1-10.) In the 
public documents also it would 
seem that the special designation of 
the monarch was omitted (Dio Cass. 
lxvi. 11). 

2 The practice is not that of the 
Ptolemies, who bore the name of 
Ptolemy as a family appellation, 
and took some further designation 
for distinction's sake. 

3 Syncellus (p. 284, B) says 37 
years ; but the synchronisms in the 
Parthian history scarcely allow so 

4 As by 
(l.s.c), and others 

Justin, Ammianus 


with Tiridates, marched (in B.C. 245) a huge expedi- 
tion into Asia, defeated Seleucus II. (Callinicus) in 
Syria, took Antioch, and then, haying crossed the 
Euphrates, proceeded to bring the greater part of 
Western Asia under his sway. Mesopotamia, Assyria, 
Babylonia, Susiana, Persia, Media, submitted to him. 
He went in person as far as Babylon, and, according 
to his own account, 1 was acknowledged as master by 
all the Eastern provinces to the very borders of Bactria. 
The Parthian and Bactrian kingdoms cannot but have 
trembled for their newly won independence. Here 
was a young warrior who, in a single campaign, had 
marched the distance of a thousand miles, from the 
banks of the Nile to those of the Lower Euphrates, 
without so much as receiving a check, and who was 
threatening to repeat the career of Alexander. What 
resistance could the little Parthian state hope to offer 
to such an enemy ? It must have rejoiced Tiridates 
to hear that while the new conqueror was gathering 
somewhat too hastily the fruits of victory, collecting 
and despatching to Egypt the most valuable works of 
art that he could find in the cities which he had 
taken, and levying heavy contributions on the sub- 
mitted countries, a revolt had broken out in his own 
land, to quell which he was compelled to retire 
suddenly and to relinquish the greater part of his 
acquisitions. Thus the threatened conquest proved a 
mere inroad, and instead of a power of greater strength 
replacing Syria in these regions, Syria practically re- 
tained her hold of them, but with enfeebled grasp, 
her strength crippled, her prestige lost, and her honour 
tarnished. Ptolemy had, it is probable, not retired 

1 See the inscription of Adule (Bockh, Corp. Inscr. Gr. vol. iii. p. 509). 



[Ch. III. 

very long, when, encouraged by what he had seen of 
Syria's weakness, Tiridates took the aggressive, and 
invading the neighbouring district of Hyrcania, suc- 
ceeded in detaching it from the Syrian state, and 
adding it to his own territory. 1 This was throwing 
out a challenge which the Syrian monarch, Callinicus, 
could scarcely decline to meet, unless he was pre- 
pared to lose, one by one, all the outlying provinces 
of his Empire. * 

Accordingly in B.C. 237, having patched up a peace 
with his brother, Antiochus Hierax, the Syrian monarch 
made an expedition against Parthia. Not feeling, 
however, altogether confident of success if he trusted 
wholly to his own unaided efforts, he prudently 
entered into an alliance with Diodotus, the Bactrian 
kino-, 2 and the two agreed to combine their forces 
against Tiridates. Hereupon that monarch, im- 
pressed with a deep sense of the impending danger, 
quitted Parthia, and proceeding northwards, took refuge 
with the Aspasiaca3, 3 a Scythian tribe which dwelt be- 
tween the Oxus and the Jaxartes. 4 The AspasiacaB 
probably lent him troops; at any rate, he did not 
remain long in retirement, but, hearing that the 

1 Justin, xli. 4. (On the situa- 
tion and general character of Hyr- 
cania, see ch. i. p. 12.) 

2 Ibid. 

3 Strab. xi. 8, § 8. 'Apca*^, 
tov KciWivikov (pevycov 'E'tXtVKOv tig 
roi'Q 'A(T7ra<JidicaQ ixupV™- t Major 
Cunningham places the flight of 
Tiridates in B.C. 246, the first year 
of Callinicus (Num. Chron. New 
Series, vol. ix. p. 33) ; but there 
seems to be no reason for supposing 
that that monarch threatened the 
eastern provinces until B.C. 237, 
his tenth year, nor any probability 

that Tiridates would desert his 
kingdom until the Syrian monarch 
actually made his expedition. 

4 On the character and geogra- 
phical position of the Aspasiacse, 
see Polyb. x. 47. This writer 
assigns them the whole region be- 
tween the Oxus and the Tanais ; 
but such an extension of their 
country can only have rested on 
conjecture. What Polybius knew 
was that they dwelt north of the 
Oxus, which they were in the habit 
of crossing to make raids into 


Bactrian king, whom he especially feared, was dead, 
he contrived to detach his son and successor from the 
Syrian alliance, and to draw him over to his own side. 
Having made this important stroke, he met Callinicus 
in battle, and completely defeated his army. 1 

This victory was with reason regarded by the Par- 
tisans as a sort of second beginning of their inde- 
pendence. 2 Hitherto their kingdom had existed pre- 
cariously, and as it were by sufferance. It could not 
but be that the power from which they had revolted 
would one day seek to reclaim its lost territory ; and, 
until the new monarchy had measured its strength 
a gainst that of its former mistress, none could feel 
secure that it would be able to maintain its existence. 
The victory gained by Tiridates over Callinicus put an 
end to these doubts. It proved to the world at large, 

1 Justin, l.s.c. : l Sed cito, morte 
Theodoti metu liberatus, cum filio 
ejus — et ipso Theodoto — foedus ac 
pacem fecit ; nee multo post cum Se- 
leuco rege, ad defectores persequen- 
dos veniente, congressus victor 
fuit.' Major Cunningham con- 
cludes, on the strength of a frag- 
ment of Posidonius (ap. Athen. 
Deipn. iv. p. 153, A), that Seleucus 
was not only defeated by Tiridates, 
but made prisoner {Num. Chron. 
vol. ix. p. 34). But this would 
make Posidonius expressly contra- 
dict Justin, who says that Seleucus 
after his defeat was recalled to his 
own kingdom by fresh troubles. 
(See note * on the next chapter.) 
Others, as Vaillant, Clinton, and 
H. H. Wilson, have concluded 
from the fragment of Posidonius 
that Callinicus must have subse- 
quently made a second expedition 
against the Parthians, and have 
then been made prisoner — an ex- 
pedition of which the Posidonian 
fragment is the only trace. But it 

has been well pointed out by Mr. 
Bunbury that that fragment belongs 
to the history, not of Seleucus 
Callinicus, but of Seleucus, the 
eldest son of Antiochus Sidetes, 
who was taken prisoner by Phraa- 
tes II. in B.C. 129 (Diet, of Greek 
and Roman Biography, vol. iii. 
p. 774). The sixteenth book of 
Posidonius, which contained the 
passage, treated of this period, and 
the passage itself, which speaks of 
a Syrian expedition against Media, 
is inappropriate to the time of 
Tiridates. The objection taken to 
Mr. Bunbury's view, that Seleucus 
is called ' king ' in the passage, has 
no force. The word fiamXtvg is 
constantly applied to princes by the 
Greek writers ; and, moreover, 
Seleucus, the eldest surviving son of 
Callinicus (Euseb. Chron. Can. i. 
40, § 19), would have been dejure 
i king ' on his father's death. 

2 ' Velut initiumlibertatis.' (Jus- 
tin, xli. 4, ad Jin.) 



and also to the Parthians themselves, that they had 
nothing to fear — that they were strong enough to 
preserve their freedom. Considering the enormous- 
disproportion between the military strength and re- 
sources of the narrow Parthian State and the vast 
Syrian Empire — considering that the one comprised 
about fifty thousand and the other above a million of 
square miles ; ! that the one had inherited the wealth 
of ages and the other was probably as poor as any 
province in Asia ; that the one possessed the Ma- 
cedonian arms, training, and tactics, while the other 
knew only the rude warfare of the Steppes : the result 
of the struggle cannot but be regarded as surprising. 
Still it was not without precedent, and it has not been 
without repetition. It adds another to the many 
instances, where a small but brave people, bent on 
resisting foreign domination, have, when standing on 
their defence in their own territory, proved more than 
a match for the utmost force that a foe of overwhelm- 
ing strength could bring against them. It reminds us 
of Marathon, of Bannockburn, of Morgarten. We 
may not sympathise wholly with the victors, for Greek 
civilisation, even of the type introduced by Alexander 
into Asia, was ill replaced by Tatar coarseness and 
barbarism; but we cannot refuse our admiration to 
the spectacle of a handful of gallant men determinedly 
resisting; in the fastnesses of their native land a host 
of aliens, and triumphing over their would-be op- 

The Parthians themselves, deeply impressed with 
the importance of the contest, preserved the memory 

1 See above, pp. 3 and 3-3. The j raised the Parthian territory from 
conquest of Ilyrcania may have | 33,000 to 50,000 square miles. 

Ch. in.] 



of it by a solemn festival on the anniversary of their 
victory, which they still celebrated in the time of 

Trogns. 1 

1 Justin, no doubt, reports the 
actual words of Trogus when he 
says (l.s.c.), ' quern diem Parthi 

exinde solennem, velut initium 
libertatis, observant? 

e 2 



Consolidation of the Parthian Kingdom. Death of Tiridates and accession 
of Arsaces III. Attack on Media. War of Artabanus (Arsaces III.) 
with Antiochus the Great. Period of inaction. Great development of 
Bactrian power. Reigns of Priapatius {Arsaces IV.) and Phraates I. 
{Arsaces V.) 

Kot' apxas dcr^evrjs ~hv Keel avrbs (sc. 'ApaaKTjs) nai ol diade^d/xepoi iiceTvov. 

Strab. xi. 9, § 2. 

Seleucus might perhaps not have accepted his defeat 
as final, had he been altogether free to choose whether 
he would continue the Parthian war or no. The re- 
sources of his Empire were so vast, his command of 
men and money so unbounded, that he could easily 
have replaced one army by another, and so have pro- 
longed the struggle. But renewed troubles had broken 
out in the western portion of his dominions, 1 where 
his brother, Antiochus Hierax, was still in arms against 
his authority. Seleucus felt it necessary to turn his 
attention to this quarter, and having once retired from 
the Parthian contest, he never afterwards renewed it. 2 
Tiridates was left unmolested, to act as he thought fit, 
and either to attempt further conquests, or to devote 
himself to securing those which he had effected. He chose 
the latter course, and during the remainder of his reign 
— a space of above twenty years — he employed himself 
wholly in strengthening and adorning his small king- 
dom. Having built a number of forts in various strong 

1 Justin, xli. 5. ' Kevocato Se- | 2 See above, p. 49, note 
leuco novis motibus in Asiam.' 

Ch. IV.] 



positions, and placed garrisons in them, he carefully 
selected a site for a new city, which he probably in- 
tended to make his capital. The spot chosen combined 
the advantages of being at once delightful and easily 
defensible. It was surrounded with precipitous rocks, 
which enclosed a plain of extraordinary fertility. Abun- 
dant wood and copious streams of water were in the 
neighbourhood. The soil was so rich that it scarcely 
required cultivation, and the woods were so full of 
game as to afford endless amusement to hunters. 1 To 
the town which he built in this locality, Tiridates 
gave the name of Dara, a word which the Greeks and 
Eomans elongated into Dareium. 2 Unfortunately, 
modern travellers have not yet succeeded in identifying 
the site, which should, however, lie towards the East, 3 
perhaps in the vicinity of Meshed. 

We may presume that Tiridates, when he built this 
remarkable city, intended to make it the seat of govern- 
ment. Hecatompylos, as a Greek town, had the same 
disadvantages, which were considered in later times to 
render Seleucia unfit for the residence of the Parthian 
Court and monarch. Dara, like Ctesiphon, was to be 
wholly Parthian. Its strong situation would render it 

1 Justin, l.s.c. ' Dato laxarnento, 
regnum Parthicum format, militem 
legit, castella munit, civitates fir- 
mat ; urbem quoque nomine Daram 
in monte Zapaortenon condit; cu- 
jus loci ea conditio est, ut neque 
munitius quidquam esse, neque 
amcenius possit. Ita enim et prae- 
ruptis rupibus undique cingitur, ut 
tutela loci nullis defensoribus egeat ; 
et soli circumjacentis tanta ubertas 
est, ut propriis opibus expleatur. 
Jam fontium ac sylvarum ea copia 
est, ut et aquarum abundantia irri- 
getur, et venationum voluptatibus 

2 See Plin. H. N. vi. 16. The 
double resemblance of Apavortene 
(Zapavortene in one MS.) to Zapa- 
ortenon, and of Dareium to Dara, 
is enough to show that Pliny and 
Justin are speaking of the same 
locality. The description of Da- 
reium in Pliny as l fertilitatis in- 
clutae locus' is a confirmation, if 
one were needed. 

3 This emplacement depends es- 
pecially on the identification of 
Justin's Zapaortenon with the 
Apavarctica of Isidore of Charax 
{Mans. Parth. § 13), which lay 
between Parthyene and Margiana. 



[Ch. IV. 

easy of defence ; its vicinity to forests abounding in 
game would give it special charms in the eyes of per- 
sons so much devoted, as the Parthian princes were, to 
the chase. But the intention of Tiridates, if we have 
truly divined it, failed of taking permanent effect. He 
may himself have fixed his abode at Dara, but his suc- 
cessors did not inherit his predilections ; and Hecatom- 
pylos remained, after his reign, as before it, the head- 
quarters of the government, and the recognised metro- 
polis of Parthia Proper. 1 

After passing in peace and prosperity the last twenty 
years of his reign, Tiridates died in a good old age, 
leaving his crown to a son, whose special name is a 
little uncertain, but who is called by most moderns, 2 
Artabanus I. 

Artabanus, having ascended the Parthian throne 
about B.C. 214, and being anxious to distinguish him- 
self, took advantage of the war raging between Antio- 
chus III., the second son of Seleucus Callinicus, and 
Achaeus, one of his rebel satraps, to advance into Media, 
and to add to his dominions the entire tract between 
Hyrcania and the Zagros mountains. Of the manner 
in which he effected his conquests we have no account ; 
but they seem to have been the fruit of a single cam- 
paign, which must have been conducted Avith great 
vigour and military skill. The Parthian prince appears 
to have occupied Ecbatana, 3 the ancient capital of the 

1 See Polyb. x. 28, § 7; Plin. 
H N. vi. 15 ; Strab. xi. 9, § 1. 

2 See Vaillant, Hist. Arsacid. p. 
16 ; Heeren, Manual, p. 300, E. T. ; 
Plate in Smith's Diet, of Gk. and 
Rom. Biography, vol. i. p. 354; 
Lindsay, History and Coinage of 
the Parthians, p. 4 ; &c. Mr. Clin- 
ton questions the existence of any 
such king- (F. JR. vol. ii. p. 244, 

note e ) ; but the name is given in 
the Epitome of Trogus Pompeius, 
and the actions are those wrongly 
assigned by Mr. Clinton to Tin- 

3 This is implied in the account 
of Polybius, especially in the fact 
recorded, that Antiochus, in re- 
occupying the place, plundered it 
(Polyb. x. 27, § 13). 


Median Empire, and to have thence threatened the 
Mesopotamian countries. Upon receiving intelligence 
of his invasion, Antiochus levied a vast army, 1 and 
set out towards the East with a determination to sub- 
jugate all the revolted provinces, and to recover the 
limits of the old Empire of Nicator. Passing the 
Zagros chain, probably by way of Behistim and Ker- 
manshaw, 2 he easily retook Ecbatana, which was an 
open town, 3 and undefended by the Parthians, and 
proceeded to prepare for a further advance eastward. 
The route from Ecbatana to the Caspian Gates crosses, 
of necessity, unless a considerable circuit be taken, 
some large tracts of barren ground, inlets or bays of 
the Great Salt Desert of Iran. Artabanus cherished the 
hope that here the difficulties of the way would effec- 
tually bar his enemy's progress, more especially as his 
troops were so numerous, and as water was scanty 
throughout the whole region. The streams which flow 
from Zagros towards the East are few and scanty ; 
they mostly fail in summer, which, even in Asia, is the 
campaigning season ; and those who cross the desert at 
this time must depend on the wells wherewith the 
more western part of the region is supplied by means 
of kanats or underground conduits, 4 which are some- 
times carried many miles from the foot of the mountains. 
The position of the wells, which were few in number, 
was known only to the natives ; 5 and Artabanus hoped 
that the Syrian monarch would be afraid to place the 

1 Justin (xli. 5) makes the num- I 3 ' Atux^tqc. Polyb. x. 27, § 6. 
ber of his troops 100,000 foot and | 4 'Yttovojuoi, Polyb. x. 28, § % 

20,000 horse, which is not at all 
an extravagant estimate. 

8 This is the easiest pass from 
Mesopotamia into Media, and the 
one which is open the earliest. 

On the extensive use of kanats in 
Persia, see above, p. 7. 

5 Polyb. (l.S.C.) ^utarlag ayvoov- 
fitvag Tine, cnrtiuoic. 


lives of his soldiers in such doubtful keeping. When, 
however, he found that Antiochus was not to be 
deterred by any fears of this kind, but was bent on 
crossing the desert, he had recourse to the barbaric 
expedients of filling in, or poisoning, the wells along 
the line of route which the Syrian prince was likely to 
follow. 1 But these steps seem to have been taken too 
late. Antiochus, advancing suddenly, caught some of 
the Parthian troops at their barbarous work, and dis- 
persed them without difficulty. 2 He then rapidly 
effected the transit, and pressing forward, was soon in 
the enemy's country, where he occupied the chief city, 
Hecatompylos. 3 

Up to this point the Parthian monarch had declined 
an engagement. No information has come down to us 
as to his motives ; but they may be readily enough 
conjectured. To draw an enemy far away from his 
resources, while retiring upon one's own ; to entangle a 
numerous host among narrow passes and defiles ; to 
decline battle when he offers it, and then to set upon 
him unawares, has always been the practice of weak 
mountain races when attacked by a more numerous foe 
It is often good policy in such a case even to yield the 
capital without a blow, and to retreat into a more diffi- 
cult situation. The assailant must follow whithersoever 
his foe retires, or quit the country, leaving him unsub- 
dued. Antiochus, aware of this necessity, and rendered 
confident of success by the evacuation of a situation so 
strong, and so suitable for the Parthian tactics as Heca- 
tompylos, 4 after giving his army a short rest at the 
captured capital, set out in pursuit of Artabanus, who 

1 Polyb. x. 28, § 5. Compare 
the conduct of the European Scyths 
at the time of the invasion of their 
country by Darius (Herod, iv. 120). 

2 Polyb. x. 28, § G. 

3 Ibid. § 7. 

4 Ibid. x. 29, § 1. 



had withdrawn his forces towards Hyrcania. To reach 
the rich Hyrcanian valleys, he was forced to cross the 
main chain of the Elburz, which here attains an eleva- 
tion of 7000 or 8000 feet. The route which his army 
had to follow was the channel of a winter-torrent, 1 
obstructed with stones and trunks of trees, partly by 
nature, partly by the efforts of the inhabitants. The 
long and difficult ascent was disputed by the enemy 
the whole way, and something like a pitched battle 
was fought at the top ; but Antiochus persevered, and, 
though his army must have suffered severely, descended 
into Hyrcania and captured several of the towns. 2 Here 
our main authority, Polybius, suddenly deserts us, and 
we can give no further account of the war beyond its 
general result — Artabanus and the Parthians remained 
unsubdued after a struggle which seems to have lasted 
some years ; Artabanus himself displayed great valour ; 3 
and at length the Syrian monarch thought it best to con- 
clude a peace with him, in which he acknowledged the 
Parthian independence. It is probable that he exacted 
in return a pledge that the Parthian monarch should lend 
him his assistance in the expedition which he was bent 
on conducting against Bactria ; 4 but there is no actual 
proof that the conditions of peace contained this clause. 
We are left in doubt whether Artabanus stood aloof in 
the war which Antiochus w T aged with Euthydemus of 

1 Aia xapadpaQ xtifiappnv. (lb* x « 
SO, § 2.) The situation of the Par- 
thian and Hyrcanian towns is, unfor- 
tunately, still so uncertain that it is 
impossible to follow the march of 
Antiochus upon the map. Heca- 
tompylos probably lay between the 
Jaghetaiand the Alatagh; and it was 
this latter chain which Antiochus 
had to cross in order to enter Hyrca- 

nia. Polybius calls it Mount Labus. 

2 As Tambraca and Syrinx. 

3 Justin, xli. 5 : ' Ad versus An- 
tiochum Seleuci filium mira virtute 

4 The expression used by Justin 
— 'ad postremum in societatem ejus 
(sc. Antiochi) adsumptus est' — 
seems to imply something more 
than a mere peace. 



[Cn. IV. 

Bactria immediately after the close of his Parthian 
campaigns, or whether he lent his aid to the attempt 
made to crush his neighbour. Perhaps, on the whole, 
it is most probable that, nominally, he was Antiochus' 
ally in the war, but that, practically, he gave him little 
help, having no wish to see Syria aggrandized. 

At any rate, whether Euthydemus had to meet the 
attack of Syria only, or of Syria and Parthia in combi- 
nation, the result was, that Bactria, like Parthia, proved 
strong enough to maintain her ground, and that the 
Syrian King, after a while, grew tired of the struggle, 
and consented to terms of accommodation. 1 The 
Bactrian monarchy, like the Parthian, came out of the 
contest unscathed — indeed we may go further, and say 
that the position of the two kingdoms was improved by 
the attacks made upon them. If a prince possessing the 
personal qualities that distinguished the third Antiochus, 
and justified that title of 'Great ' which he derived from 
his Oriental expedition 2 — if such a prince, enjoying 
profound peace at home, and directing the whole force 
of his Empire against them, could not succeed in reduc- 
ing to subjection the revolted provinces of the north- 

1 Polyb. xi. 34, § 9, 10. The 
terms were the following : — Euthy- 
demus supplied Antiochus with 
provisions for his army, and surren- 
dered to him all his elephants. 
Antiochus allowed Euthydemus to 
retain his government, and recog- 
nised his title of ' king.' A mar- 
riage was arranged between Deme- 
trius, the eldest son of Euthydemus, 
and a daughter of Antiochus, pro- 
babty not of marriageable age. 
Finally, an alliance, offensive and 
defensive {nvpjutyid), was con- 
cluded between the two powers. 
These favourable terms were granted 
to the Bactrian monarch, chietiv on 

account of his representations that 
a strong Bactria was needed in 
order to keep in check the northern 
nomads, who were continually 
threatening an irruption, which, if 
it once took place, would barbarise 
the whole country. This is the 
first we hear of an aggressive atti- 
tude being assumed by the Scythic 
hordes across the Jaxartes. 

2 Appian, Syriac. p. 86 a. 'Avti- 

oxoq . . . ecrfiaXujv t'(,- NriSini' re icni 
UapOvt'ii'tji^ Kcii 'iripa iQvt] a^iara/ioa 
tri rrpo avrovj Kai 7ro\Xd dpaaae, kk'l 
n'lyac 'Avt'ioxqq t7rtic\rjf)flc. Com- 
pare'Polyb. xi. 34, § 1G. ' 


east, but, whatever military advantages he might gain, 
found conquest impossible, and returned home, having 
acknowledged as independent kings those whom he 
went out to chastise as rebellious satraps, it was evi- 
dent that the kingdoms might look upon themselves as 
firmly established, or, at least, as secure from the 
danger of re-absorption into the Syrian State. The 
repulse of Callinicus was a probable indication of the 
fate of all future efforts on the part of Syria to reduce 
Parthia : the conditions of peace granted by Antiochus 
to both countries, after a series of military successes, 
constituted almost a proof that the yoke of Syria would 
never be re-imposed on either the Parthian or the 
Bactrian nation. 

With the departure of Antiochus from the East, 
about B.C. 206, we enter upon a period when Parthian 
history is, for a quarter of a century, almost a blank. 
Nothing more is known of Arsaces III. after Antiochus 
retired ; and nothing at all is known of his successor, 
Priapatius, beyond his name and the length of his 
reign, which lasted for fifteen years * (from about B.C. 
196 to 181). The reigns of these princes coincide with 
those of Euthydemus and his son, Demetrius, in Bac- 
tria ; and perhaps the most probable solution of the 
problem of Parthian inactivity at this time is to be 
found in the great development of Bactrian power 
which now took place, and the influence which the two 
neighbouring kingdoms naturally exercised upon each 
other. When Parthia was strong and aggressive, 
Bactria was, for the most part, quiet ; and when Bac- 
tria shows signs of vigorous and active life, Parthia 
languishes and retires into the shade. 

1 Justin, xli. 5. 



[Ch. IV. 

The Bactrian Kingdom, founded (as we have seen *) 
a little before the Parthian, sought from the first its 
aggrandisement in the East rather than in the West. 
The Empire of Alexander had included all the countries 
between the Caspian Sea and the Sutlej ; and these 
tracts, which constitute the modern Khorasan, Affghan- 
istan, and Punjaub, had all been to a certain extent 
Hellenised by means of Greek settlements 2 and Greek 
government. But Alexander was no sooner dead than 
a tendency displayed itself in these regions, and parti- 
cularly in the more eastern ones, towards a relapse into 
barbarism, or, if this expression be too strong, 3 at any 
rate towards a rejection of Hellenism. During the 
early wars of the 'Successors' the natives of the Pun- 
jaub generally seized the opportunity to revolt ; the 
governors placed over the various districts by Alex- 
ander were murdered ; and the tribes everywhere 
declared themselves free. Anions the leaders of the 
revolt was a certain Chandragupta (or Sandracottus), 
who contrived to turn the circumstances of the time to 
his own special advantage, and built up a considerable 
kingdom in the far East out of the fragments which had 
detached themselves from what was still called the 
Macedonian Empire. 4 When Seleucus Nicator, about 
B.C. 305, conducted an expedition across the Indus, he 

1 See above, p. 44. 

2 On the Greek cities founded by 
Alexander in Bactria, see Strabo, xi. 
11. §4; in Sogdiana, see Arrian, 
Exp. Al. iv. 3, ad fin. ; in the Paro- 
pamisus, ib. iv. 22 ; on the Indus 
and its tributaries, Strab. xv. 2, § 9 ; 
Arrian, v. 19 ; vi. 15, 21, &c. 

3 That the Hindoo civilisation of 
the time was not altogether con- 
temptible is shown by Lassen in 
the second book of his IncUsche 
Altertlmmskunde (vol. ii. pp. 1-111). 

4 See especially the account of 
Justin, xv. 4, § 12-19. i Transitum 
deinde in India fecit, quae post 
mortem Alexandri, veluti cervicibus 
jugo servitutis excusso, prsefectos 
ejus occiderat. Auctor libertatis 
Sandrocottus fuerat; sed titulum 
libertatis post victoriam in servi- 
tutem verterat ; siquidem occupato 
regno, populum, quern ab externa 
dominatione vindicaverat, ipse ser- 
vitio premebat.' 

Cn. IV.] 



found this monarch established in the tract between the 
Indus and the Ganges, 1 ruling over extensive dominions 
and at the head of a, vast force. 2 It is uncertain whe- 
ther the two rivals engaged in hostilities or no. 3 At 
any rate, a peace was soon made ; and Seleucus, in 
return for five hundred elephants, ceded to Sandra- 
cottus certain lands on the west bank of the Indus, 
which had hitherto been regarded as Macedonian. 4 
These probably consisted of the low grounds between 
the Indus and the foot of the mountains — the districts 
of Peshawur, Bunnoo, Murwut, Shikarpoor, and Kurra- 
cliee — which are now in British occupation. Thus 
Hellenism in these parts receded more and more, the 
Sanskritic Indians recovering by degrees the power and 
independence of which they had been deprived by 

This state of tilings could not have been pleasing to 
the Greek princes of Bactria, who must have felt that 
the reaction towards barbarism in these parts tended 
to isolate them, and that there was a danger of their 
being crushed between the Parthians on the one hand 
and the perpetually advancing Indians on the other. 
When Antiochus the Great, after concluding his treaty 
with Euthydemus, inarched eastward, the Bactrian 
monarch probably indulged in hopes that the Indians 

1 Palibothra, on the Ganges, is 
made the head of the kingdom of 
Sandracottus by Strabo, who fol- 
lows the eye witness, Megasthenes 
(xv. 1, § 36). Plutarch (Vtt. 
Alex. § 62) extends the Pnesian 
Indians, over whom he ruled, to 
the 'Altars of Alexander/ which 
were on the Hyphasis, or Sutlej 
(Diod. Sic. xvii. 95, § 1). Seleucus 
must have come into contact with 
Sandracottus in the Punjaub region. 

2 Strabo (l.s.c.) gives as the 

amount of his force 400,000 ; Plu- 
tarch (l.s.c), 600,000. 

3 Appian mentions hostilities 

(roi' 'Li'Coi> mpcKrag t tt o\(/j,t] as v 
' AvdpoKuroj ftamXel tmv TTtpl avrov 
'Ivdwv. Syriac. p. 123, B) j but 
Strabo (xv. 2, § 9) and Justin (xv. 
4, § 21) speak merely of an alli- 

4 Strabo. l.s.c. Plutarch (Vit. 
Alex: § 62) mentions the elephants, 
but not the cession of territory. 



[Ch. IV. 

would receive a check, and that the Greek frontier 
would be again carried to the Indus, if not to the Sutlej. 
But, if so, he was disappointed. Antiochus, instead of 
making war upon the Indians, contented himself with 
renewing the old alliance of the Seleucidse with the 
Uaurja princes, 1 and obtaining a number of elephants 
from Sophagesenus, the grandson of Sandracottus. 2 It 
is even possible that he went further, and made ces- 
sions of territory in return for this last gift, 3 which 
brought the Indian frontier still nearer than before to 
that of Bactria. At any rate, the result of the Indian 
expedition of Antiochus seems to have been unsatisfac- 
tory to Euthydemus, who shortly afterwards commenced 
what are called ' Indian Wars ' 4 on his south-eastern 
frontier, employing in them chiefly the arms of his son, 
Demetrius. During the later years of Euthydemus, and 
the earlier ones of Demetrius, the Bactrian rule was 
rapidly extended over the greater portion of the modern 
Afghanistan ; 5 nor did it even stop there. The arms 
of Demetrius were carried across the Indus into the 
Punjaub region ; 6 and the city of Euthymedeia upon 
the Hydaspes remained to later times an evidence of 
the extent of his conquests. 7 From B.C. 206 to about 
B.C. 185 was the most flourishing period of the Bactrian 

1 On this dynastic appellation, 
see Lassen, Indische Alterthums- 
kunde, vol. ii. p. 196. 

2 Polyb. x. 34, § 11. Lassen lias 
shown that Sophagesenus (Sublia- 
gasena) was probably a title of 
Jcdoka, the son of Asoka, and grand- 
son of Chandragupta (Sandracot- 

3 So Wilson (Aricma Antigua, p. 
229) ; but I do not find any state- 
ment of the fact by any ancient 

4 Strab. xi. 11, § 1. 

5 Demetrius is called by Justin 
'King of the Indians' (xli. 6, § 4). 
He is reasonably regarded as the 
founder of the city called Deme- 
trias in Arachosia (Isid. Char. § 
19). His Indian conquests are at- 
tested by Strabo (l.s.c.) 

6 This has been questioned by 
Wilson (Ar. Ant p. 230) ; but 
Lassen (Ind. Alt. vol. ii. p. 300) 
regards the evidence as, on the 
whole, conclusive. 

7 Ptol. Geograph. vii. 1 ', p. 171. 



monarchy, which expanded during that space from a 
small kingdom into a considerable empire. 1 

The power and successes of the Bactrian princes at 
this time account sufficiently for the fact that the con- 
temporary Parthian monarchs stood upon their guard, 
and undertook no great expeditions. Arsaces III., who 
continued on the throne for about ten or twelve years 
after his peace with Antiochus, and Priapatius, or 
Arsaces IV., his son, who succeeded him, and had a 
reign of fifteen years, were content, as already observed, 2 
to watch over their own State, husbanding its resources, 
and living at peace with all their neighbours. It was 
not till Phraates I. (Arsaces V.), the 
son of Priapatius, had mounted the 
throne, B.C. 181, that this policy 
was departed from, and Parthia, 
which had remained tranquil for a 
quarter of a century, once more 
aroused herself, and assumed an 
attitude of aggression. 

The quarter to which Phraates I. directed his arms 
was the country of the Mardians, a poor but warlike 
people, 3 who appear to have occupied a portion of the 
Elburz range, probably that immediately south of 
Mazanderan and Asterabad. 4 The reduction of these 

Coin of Phraates I. 

1 The coins of Euthydemus are 
found over a wide space, and show 
his empire to have included the 
provinces of Sogdiana, Bactria, 
Margiana, Aria, the Paropamisus, 
Drangiana, and Arachosia. 

2 See above, p. 59. 

3 Justin says, * Phraates Mardos, 
validam gentem, bello domuit' 
(xli. 5). Arrian notes that at the 

time of Alexander they were i poor' 
(7rtv7)-eg) ) "but l brave in their pe- 
nury' (ndxiftoi kiri TJj Trtviq. Exp. 

Al. iii. 24). 

4 The position of the Mardians 
has been much disputed. I am in- 
duced to assign them this locality 
at this time from a consideration 
of Arrian (l.s.c.) compared with 
Strabo (xi. 8, § 1 and § 8). 


fierce mountaineers is likely to have occupied him for 
some years, since their country was exceedingly strong 
and difficult. 1 Though the Mardi were (nominally, at 
any rate) subjects of the Seleucidaj, we do not hear of 
any assistance being rendered them, or, indeed, of any 
remonstrance being made against the unprovoked 
aggression of the Parthian monarch. The reign of 
Phraates I. in Parthia coincides with that of Seleucus 
IV. (Philopator) in Syria ; and we may account for the 
inactivity of this prince, in part by his personal cha- 
racter, which was weak and pacific, 2 in part by the 
exhaustion of Syria at the time, in consequence of his 
father's great war with Eome (B.C. 197-190), and of the 
heavy contribution which was imposed upon him at 
the close of it. Syria may scarcely have yet recovered 
sufficient strength to enter upon a new struggle, espe- 
cially one with a distant and powerful enemy. The 
material interests of the Empire may also have seemed 
to be but little touched by the war, since the Mardi 
were too poor to furnish much tribute ; and it is possi- 
ble, if not even probable, that their subjection to Syria 
had long been rather formal than real. 3 Seleucus 
therefore allowed the Mardians to be reduced, conceiv- 
ing, probably, that their transfer to the dominion of the 
ArsacidaB neither increased the Parthian power nor 
diminished his own. 

But the nation which submits to be robbed of a pro- 
vince, however unproductive and valueless, must look 

1 Arrian, l.s.c. ; Q. Curt. Hist. I History, vol. iii. p. 445, E. T. 
Alex. vi. 5. The latter writer says : I 3 The Mardians were a robber 
Interiora regionis ejus haud sane j tribe, whose allegiance to Persia 

adire sine magna vexatione [Alex 
andri] exercitus poterat. Juga 
montium, praealtEe sylvre, rupesque 
invia3 sepiunt.' 

2 Niebuhr, Lectures on Ancient 

had sat very lightly on them. They 
submitted to Alexander, but pro- 
bably reverted soon after to their 
old condition. 


to having the process repeated at intervals, until it 
bestirs itself and offers resistance. There is reason to 
believe that Phraates had no sooner conquered the 
Mardians than he cast his eyes on an adjacent district, 
and resolved to add it to his territories. This was the 
tract lying immediately to the west of the Caspian 
Gates, which was always reckoned to Media, forming, 
however, a distinct district, known as Media Ehagiana. 1 
It was a region of much natural fertility, being watered 
by numerous streams from the Elburz range, and pos- 
sessing a soil of remarkable productiveness. 2 Its breadth 
was not great, since it consisted of a mere strip between 
the mountains and the Salt Desert which occupies the 
whole centre of the Iranic table-land ; but it extended 
in length at least a hundred and fifty miles, from the 
Caspian Gates to the vicinity of Kasvin. Its capital 
city, from a remote antiquity, was Ehages, 3 situated 
near the eastern extremity of the strip, probably at the 
spot now called Kaleh Erijf about twenty- three miles 
from the ' Gates.' On this region it is clear that 
Phraates cast a covetous eye. How much of it he 
actually occupied is doubtful ; but it is at least certain 
that he effected a lodgment in its eastern extremity, 5 
which must have put the whole region in jeopardy. 
Nature has set a remarkable barrier between the more 
eastern and the more western portions of Occidental Asia, 

1 Isid. Char. Mans. Parth. § 7. the Books of Tobit (i. 14 ; vi. 9) and 
Compare Strab. xi. 13, § 7 ; Diod. ' Judith (i. 5). 

Sic. xix. 44, § 5 ; Ptol. Geogr. vi. 2. 4 See Ancient Monarchies, vol. ii. 

2 See the descriptions of Fraser p. 273 ; 2nd ed. 

(JUiorasan, pp. 287, 288), and Kin- 5 Isid. Char. Mans. Parth. § 7. 
neir {Persian Empire, p. 119). j 'EvrwQev 'Yayiavi) MnSid, kv ?J . . . 

3 Rhages appears in the Zenda- j 'Pdya icai XdpaZ, wv fieyhrr) tmv kutcl 
vesta under the form of Ragha. j ri\v Mijciav r) 'Pdya. Elg Sk tj)v 
It is mentioned in the Behistun Xapaica TrpCJTog (3aoi\tvQ ^padrtjg 
inscription (col. ii. par. 13), and in Irodg MapSovg ojKiatv, 



about midway in the tract which lies due south of the 
Caspian Sea. The Elburz range in this part is one of 
so tremendous a character, and northward abuts so 
closely on the Caspian, that all communication between 
the east and the west necessarily passes to the south of 
it. In this quarter the Great Desert offering an insu- 
perable obstacle to transit, the line of communication 
has to cling to the flanks of the mountain chain, the 
narrow strip between the mountains and the desert — 
rarely ten miles in width — being alone traversable. 
But about long. 52° 20' this strip itself fails. A rocky 
spur runs due south from the Elburz into the desert 
for a distance of some twenty or thirty miles, breaking 
the line of communication, and seeming at first sight 
to obstruct it completely. 1 This, however, is not the 
case absolutely. The spur itself is penetrable by two 
passes, one where it joins the Elburz, which is the 
more difficult of the two, and another, further to the 
south, which is easier. 2 The latter, now known as the 
Girduni Sudurrah pass, constitutes the famous ' Pyla3 
Caspiae.' Through this pass alone can armies proceed 
from Armenia, Media, and Persia eastward, or from 
Turkestan, Khorasan, and Afghanistan into the more 
western parts of Asia. The position is therefore one of 
primary importance. It was to guard it that Phages 
was built so near the eastern end of its territory. So 
long as it remained in the possession of Syria, Parthian 
aggression was checked. Bhagiana, the rest of Media, 
and the other provinces were safe, or nearly so. On 
the other hand, the loss of it to Parthia laid the eastern 
provinces open to her, and was at once almost equiva- 

1 Fraser, Khorasan, p. 201. I Girduni Siyaluk. It is perhaps the 

3 Ancient Monarchies, l.s.c. The ' Pylse Caspise ' of Pliny (II N. vi. 
more northern pass is called the I 14). 


lent to the loss of all Bhagiana, which had no other 
natural protection. Now we find that Phraates sur- 
mounted the ' Gates,' and effected a lodgment in the 
plain country beyond them. He removed a portion of 
the conquered Mardians from their mountain homes to 
the city of Charax, which was on the western side of the 
Gates, 1 probably on the site now occupied by the ruins 
known as Uewanikif? Their location in this strong 
post 3 was a menace to the neighbouring town of Phages, 
which can scarcely have maintained itself long against 
an enemy encamped at its doors. We are not informed, 
however, of any results which followed on the occupa- 
tion of Charax during the life-time of Phraates. His 
reign lasted only seven years — from B.C. 181 to B.C. 
174 — and it is thus probable that he died before there 
was time for his second important conquest to have any 
further consequences. 

Phraates had sufficient warning of his coming 
decease to make preparations with respect to ■ a suc- 
cessor. Though he had several sons, some of whom 
were (we must suppose) of sufficient age to have 
ascended the throne, 4 he left his crown to his brother, 
Mithridates. He felt, probably, that the State re- 

1 See above, p. 65, note 5. Mr.Lind- j town indicates that it was guarded 
say {History of the Parthians, p. 7) by a palisaded earthwork. On the 
has strangely confounded the Me- strength of such palisaded places 
dian Charax with Charax Spasini under the Parthians, see Polyb. x. 
at the mouth of the Tigris, and has 31, § 8. Tctypru yhp yaav Tpirral, 
imagined that Phraates I. extended j irAa'roc \ikv oi>x sXottov exovaai rpid- 
his dominion to the Persian Gulf, j icovra tttix&v, (3d%e 8t ■jrEvrEKatotica' 

2 So Droysen, Geschichte des I twi 8s ro?<; xeiXtmv sKdtrrrjg ^apa- 
HellenismuS) vol. ii. p. 716. Isidore's Kiopara onrXa sTrtKeirn, <ccu TeXivralov 
description (iariv l)7ru ~b upog o j TrpaTiixiona dvvnrov. 

KaKCirai Kan-nog) would lead one to I 4 Unless this had been the case, 
place it somewhat nearer the , Justin would scarcely have dwelt 
' Gates.' j so much upon the meritorious cha- 

3 The word ' Charax ' properly j racter of Phraates' action (Hist. 
means 'palisade/ and applied to a i Phil. xli. 5, ad Jin.). 


quired the direction of a firm hand, that war might at 
any time break out with either Syria or Bactria ; 
while, if the career of conquest on which he had made 
Farthia enter, were to be pursued, he could trust his 
brother better than any of his sons to conduct aggres- 
sive expeditions with combined vigour and prudence. 
We shall see, as the history proceeds, how Mithridates 
justified his choice. Phraates would also appear to 
have borne his brother especial affection, since he 
takes the name of ' Philadelphus ' (brother-loving) 
upon his coins. 1 It must have been a satisfaction to 
him that he was able by his last act at once to consult 
for the good of his country, and to gratify a sentiment 
on which it is evident that he prided himself. 

1 See Lindsay's Tarihians, p. 136. The subjoined is from a coin of this 

Phraates I. (Obverse.) 

Oh. V.] 




Reign of Mithridates I. Position of Bactria and Syria at his accession. 
Sis first War icith Bactria. His great Expedition against the Eastern 
Syrian provinces, and its remits. His second war with Bactria, termi- 
nating in its conquest. Extent of his Empire. Attempt of Demetrius 
Nicator to recover the lost Provinces, fails. Captivity of Demetrius. 
Death of Mithridates. 

1 Mithridati, insignis virtutis viro, reliquit imperium (Phrahates).' 

Justin, xli. 5. 

The reign of Mithridates I. is the most important in 
the Parthian history. Eeceiving from his brother 
Phraates a kingdom of but narrow dimensions, con- 
fined (as it would seem) between the city of Charax 
on the one side, and the river Arius, or Heri-rud, on 
the other, he transformed it, within the space of thirty- 
seven years (which was the time that his reign lasted), 
into a great and flourishing Empire. It is not too 
much to say that, but for him, Parthia might have 

Coin of Mithridates I. (Native. ) 

Coin of Mithridates I. (Greek.) 

remained a mere petty State on the outskirts of the 
Syrian kingdom, and instead of becoming a rival to 
Eome, might have sunk shortly into obscurity and 




[Ch. V. 

As commonly happens in the grand changes which 
constitute the turning-points of history, the way for 
Mithriclates' vast successes was prepared by a long 
train of antecedent circumstances. To show how the 
rise of the Parthians to greatness in the middle of the 
second century before our era was rendered possible, 
we must turn aside once more from our proper subject 
and cast a glance at the condition of the two kingdoms 
between which Parthia stood, at the time when 
Mithriclates ascended the throne. 

The Bactrian monarchs. in their ambitious struggles 
to possess themselves of the tracts south of the Paro- 
pamisus, 1 and extending from the Heri-rucl to the 
Sutlej and the mouths of the Indus, overstrained the 
strength of their State, and by shifting the centre of 
its power injured irretrievably its principle of cohesion. 
As early as the reign of Demetrius 2 a tendency to 
disruption showed itself, Eucratidas having held the 
supreme power for many years in Bactria itself, while 
Demetrius exercised authority on the southern side 
of the mountains. 3 It is true that at the death of 
Demetrius this tendency was to a certain extent 
checked, since Eucratidas was then able to extend his 
sway over almost the whole of the Bactrian territory. 4 

1 See above, ch. iv. p. 62. 

2 Bactria appears to have been 
from the first less centralized than 
Parthia. Strabo's expression that 
' those who were intrusted with 
its government ' (oi •ntTriaTtvuevoi) 
caused it to revolt, is remarkable, 
and implies a plurality of princes. 
The early coins are in accordance. 
Those of Diodotus II. show us two 
other contemporary princes, Anti- 
machus and Agathocles, who at 
one time held their principalities 
under him, and at another time 
were independent. (See Num. 
Cliron. New Series, vol. viii. PI. 8 ; 

Nos. 5-7; PI. 9, Nos. 1-8.) Major 
Cunningham believes that about 
B.C. 230-225 there were four con- 
temporary princes of what is com- 
monly known as the Bactrian series. 
(Ibid. vol. ix. p. 128.) According 
to him, the union of the Greek 
power in the countries east of Par- 
thia was first effected hy Euthyde- 
mus, ab. B.C. 22o. 

3 Wilson, Ariana Antiqua, pp. 
229, 234, &c. Lassen agrees, 
though a little doubtfully (In- 
dische Alterthumskunde, vol. ii. pp. 
304, 305). 

4 According to Major Cunning- 

Cn. V.] 



But the old evil recurred shortly, though in a less 
pronounced form. Eucratidas, without being actually 
supplanted in the north by a rival, found that he could 
devote to that portion of the Empire but a small part 
of his attention. The southern countries and the 
prospect of southern and eastern conquests engrossed 
him. While he carried on successful wars with the 
Arachotians, the Drangians, and the Indians of the 
Punjaub region, his hold on the more northern 
countries was relaxed, and they began to slip from his 
grasp. 1 Incursions of the nomad Scyths from the 
Steppes carried fire and sword over portions of these 
provinces, some of which were even, it is probable, 
seized and occupied by the invaders. 2 

Such w T as, it would seem, the condition of Bactria 
under Eucratidas, the contemporary of Mithridates. 
In Syria, Antiochus Epiphanes had succeeded his 
brother Seleucus IV. (Philopator) about a year before 
Mithridates ascended the Parthian throne. 3 He was 
a prince of courage and energy ; but his hands were 
fully occupied with wars in Egypt, Palestine, and 
Armenia, and the distant East could attract but a small 
share of his thought or attention. The claim put 
forward by Egypt to the possession of Coele-Syria and 
Palestine, promised to Ptolemy V. (it was affirmed) as 
a dowry with Cleopatra, the daughter of Antiochus 
the Great, led to hostilities in the south-west which 

ham, the Indian provinces remained 
in the possession of the family of 
Demetrius, falling to his son (?), 
Lysias. who had for successors 
Antialcidas, Amyntas, and Her- 
niaBus. (Num. Chron. New Series, 
vol. ix. p. loO. Compare vol. viii. 
p. 274.) 

1 Justin, xli. 6. 

2 Strab. xi. 8, § 2. MdXwra tie 
■yvdipifioi yeyovaai twv i'o/luu*ojj/ ol 

tovq ' FjWqvciQ a<pt\6uivoi t))u Baicrpi- 
avfjv. Strabo does not fix the date, 
but it can scarcely have been either 
earlier or later than the reign of 
Eucratidas. (Compare Wilson, 
Ariana Antiqua, p. 230.) 

3 The accession of Epiphanes is 
fixed to B.C. 175 by the best chro- 
nologers. (See Clinton, F. H. vol. 
iii. pp. 317-322.) Mithridates pro- 
bably became king in B.C. 174. 


lasted continuously for four years (b.c. 171 to B.C. 168), 
and were complicated during two of them with troubles 
in Judaea, rashly provoked by the Syrian monarch, 
who, unaware of the stubborn temper of the Jews, 
goaded them into insurrection. 1 The war with Egypt 
came to an end in B.C. 1G8 ; it brought Syria no 
advantage, since Borne interposed, and required the 
restitution of all conquests. The war with the Jews 
had no such rapid termination. Antiochus, having not 
only plundered and desecrated the Temple, but having 
set himself to eradicate utterly the Jewish religion, and 
completely Hellenise the people, was met with the 
most determined resistance on the part of a moiety of 
the nation. A patriotic party rose up under devoted 
leaders, 2 who asserted, and in the end secured, the 
independence of their country. Not alone during the 
remaining years of Epiphanes, but for half a century 
after his death, throughout seven reigns, the struggle 
continued ; Judaea taking advantage of every trouble 
and difficulty in Syria to detach herself more and more 
completely from her oppressor ; being a continual 
thorn in her side, a constant source of weakness, pre- 
venting more than anything else the recovery of her 
power. The triumph which Epiphanes obtained in 
the distant Armenia (b.c. 166-5), where he defeated 
and captured the king, Artaxias, 3 was a poor set-off 
against the foe which he had created to himself at his 
doors through his cruelty and intolerance. 

In another quarter, too, the Syrian power received 
a severe shake through the injudicious violence of 
Epiphanes. *The Oriental temples had, in some instances, 
escaped the rapacity of Alexander's generals and ' Suc- 

1 See 1 Maccab. i. 21-64 ; and 
compare Joseph. Ant. Jud. xii. 5, 6 ; 
Diod. Sic. xxxiv. 1, § 3, 4. 

2 1 Mac. ii.-vi. 

3 Appian, Syriac. p. 131, 
Liv. xli. 25. 

Ch. V.] 



cessors ; ' their treasuries remained unviolated, and 
contained large hoards of the precious metals. Epi- 
phanes, having exhausted his own exchequer by his 
wars and his lavish gifts, saw in these unplundered 
stores a means of replenishing it, and made a journey 
into his south-eastern provinces for the purpose. The 
natives of Elymai's, however, resisted his attempt, and 
proved strong enough to defeat it ; x the baffled monarch 
retired to Tabrc, where he shortly afterwards fell sick 
and died. In the popular belief his death was a judg- 
ment upon him for his attempted sacrilege ; 2 and in the 
exultation caused by the event, the bands which joined 
these provinces to the Empire must undoubtedly have 
been loosened. 

Nor did the removal of Epiphanes (b.c. 164) im- 
prove the condition of affairs in Syria. The throne 
fell to his son, Antiochus Eupator, a boy of nine, 
according to Appian, 3 or, according to another autho- 
rity, 4 of twelve years of age. The regent, Lysias, 
exercised the chief power, and was soon engaged in a 
war with the Jews, 5 whom the death of Epiphanes 
had encouraged to fresh efforts. The authority of 
Lysias was further disputed by a certain Philip, whom 
Epiphanes, shortly before his death, had made tutor 
to the young king. 6 The claims of this tutor to the 
regent's office being supported by a considerable por- 
tion of the army, a civil war arose between him and 
Lysias, which raged for the greater part of two years 
(b.c. 163-2), terminating in the defeat and death 
of Philip. But Syrian affairs did not even then settle 

1 Polyb. xxxi. 11 ; 1 Mac. vi. 
1-4. Appian makes him succeed 
in plundering the Temple {Syriac. 
p. 131, C), but he is to be corrected 
from Polybius. 

2 Polyb. l.s.c. The Jews natu- 
rally regarded their own wrongs as 

the cause of their oppressor's un- 
timely end. (1 Mac. vi. 13.) 

3 Syriac. p. 117, B. 

4 Porphyr. ap. Euseb. Chron. 
Can. i. 40, § 15. 

5 1 Mac. vi. 17-62. 

6 Ibid. vi. 15, 55, 63. 



[Ch. V. 

down into tranquillity. A prince of the Seleucid 
house, Demetrius by name, the son of Seleucus IV., 
and consequently the first cousin of Eupator, was at 
this time detained in Borne as a hostage, having been 
sent there during his father's lifetime, as a security for 
his fidelity. Demetrius, with some reason, regarded 
his claim to the Syrian throne as better than that of 
his cousin, the son of the younger brother, and being 
in the full vigour of early youth, 1 he determined to 
assert his pretensions in Syria, and to make a bold 
stroke for the crown. Having failed to obtain the 
Senate's consent to his quitting Italy, he took his 
departure secretly, 2 crossed the Mediterranean in a Car- 
thaginian vessel, and landing in Asja, succeeded within 
a few months in establishing himself as Syrian monarch. 
From this review it sufficiently appears that the 
condition of things, both in Syria and Bactria, was 
favourable to any aspirations which the power that lay 
between them might entertain after dominion and 
self-aggrandizement. The Syrian and Bactrian kings, 
at the time of Mithridates' accession, were, both of 
them, men of talent and energy ; but the Syrian 
monarch was soon involved in difficulties at home, 
while the Bactrian had his attention attracted to pros- 
pects of advantage in a remote quarter. Mithridates 
might, perhaps, have attacked the territory of either 
with an equal chance of victory ; and as his pre- 
decessor had set him the example of successful warfare 
on his western frontier, we might have expected his 
first efforts to have been in this direction, against the 
dependencies of Syria. But circumstances which we 

1 He was in bis twenty-third 
year. (See Polyb. xxxi. 12, § 5.) 

2 The circumstances of this secret 
departure are given in detail by 

Polybius, who was a friend of De- 
metrius and privv to his escape. 
(See Polyb. xxxi. 19-23.) 



cannot exactly trace determined his choice differently. 
While Eucratidas was entangled in his Indian wars, 
Mithridates invaded the Bactrian territory where it 
adjoined Parthia, and added to his Empire, after a 
short struggle, two provinces, called respectively Turiua 
and that of Aspionus. 1 It is conjectured that these pro- 
vinces lay towards the north and the north-west, the 
one being that of the Turanians proper, and the other 
that of the Aspasiacse, 2 who dwelt between the Jaxartes 
and the Oxus. 3 But there is scarcely sufficient ground 
for forming even a conjecture on the subject, since 
speculation has nothing but the names themselves to 
rest upon. 4 

Successful in this quarter, Mithridates, a few years 
later, having waited until the Syrian throne was oc- 
cupied by the boy Eupator, and the two claimants 
of the regency, Lysias and Philip, were contending in 
arms for the supreme power, made suddenly an ex- 
pedition towards the west, falling upon Media, which, 
though claimed by the Syrian kings as a province of 
their Empire, was perhaps at this time almost, if not 
quite, independent. 5 The Mecles offered a vigorous 
resistance to his attack ; and, in the war which fol- 
lowed, each side had in turn the advantage ; 6 but 

1 Strab. xi. 11, § 2. Mithridates 
is not named by Strabo, but must 
have been the conqueror, as the 
contemporary of Eucratidas. 

2 Lassen, Indische AUerthums- 
kiincle, vol. ii. p. 294. 

3 Supra, p. 48, note 4. 

4 The names furnish but an un- 
certain ground. Lassen seems to 
assume the identity of Turiua with 
Turan, which is no doubt possible, 
but still very doubtful, the word 
Turan not otherwise occurring till 
the time of the Sassanians. Aspi- 
onus is not very close to Aspasiacas. 

Professor H. H. Wilson placed As- 
pionus at Andkhuy, and Turiua in 
the Hazareh Mountains, to the 
south of Maymene. (See his Map, 
Ariana Antiqua, opp. p. 214.) 

5 The quasi-independence of 
Media is implied in the account of 
Justin, who represents the war 
simply as one between the Medes 
and the Parthians (xli. G). 

6 Justin, l.s.c. ' Cum varius utri- 
usque populi casus fuisset, ad pos- 
tremum victoria penes Parthos 


eventually the Parthian prince proved victorious, and 
the great and valuable province of Media Magna was 
added to the dominions of the Arsacidse. A certain 
Bacasis was appointed to govern it, whether as satrap 
or as tributary monarch is not apparent ; x while the 
Parthian king, recalled towards home by a revolt, 
proceeded to crush rebellion before resuming his 
career of conquest. 

The revolt which now occupied for a time the atten- 
tion of Mithridates was that of Hyrcania. 2 The Hyr- 
canians were Arians in race ; they were brave and 
high-spirited, 3 and under the Persian monarchs had 
enjoyed some exceptional privileges, 4 which placed 
them above the great mass of the conquered nations. 
It was natural that they should dislike the yoke of a 
Turanian people ; and it was wise of them to make 
their effort to obtain their freedom before Parthia 
grew into a power against which revolt would be 
utterly hopeless. Hyrcania might now expect to be 
joined by the Medes, and even the Mardi, who were 
Arians like themselves, 5 and could not yet have forgotten 
the pleasures of independence. But though the effort 
does not seem to have been ill-timed, it was unsuccess- 
ful. No aid was given to the rebels, so far as we hear, 
by any of their neighbours. Mithridates' prompt 
return nipped the insurrection in the bud ; Hyrcania 
at once submitted, and became for centuries the 
obedient vassal of her powerful neighbour. 

The conquest of Media had brought the Parthians 

1 Justin's words (' Mithridates i 2 Justin, l.s.c. 
Mediae Bacasin prseponit ') point j 3 Q. Curt. Hist. Alex. vi. 4 T 

§ 15. 

4 Xen. Cyrop. iv. 2, § 8. 

5 See the author's Herodotus, 
vol. i. p. 345, 2nd edit. 

rather to an appointment as satrap ; 
but the ordinary system of the 
Parthians was to govern by means 
of tributary monarchs. 

Ch. v.] 



into contact with the rich country of Susiana or Ely- 
mais ; and it was not long before Mithridates, having 
crushed the Hyrcanian revolt, again advanced west- 
ward, and invaded this important province. Elymais 
appears to have had a king of its own, 1 who must 
either have been a vassal of the Seleucidce, or have 
acquired an independent position by revolt after the 
death of Epiphanes. In the war which followed 
between this monarch and Mithridates, the Elymasans 
proved wholly unsuccessful, and Mithridates rapidly 
overran the country and added it to his dominions. 
After this lie appears to have received the submission 
of the Persians on the one hand, and the Babylonians 
on the other, 2 and to have rested on his laurels for 
some years, 3 having extended the Parthian sway from 
the Hindoo Koosh to the Euphrates. 

The chronological data, which have come down 
to us for this period, are too scanty to allow of any 
exact statement of the number of years occupied by 
Mithridates in effecting these conquests. All that can 
be said is, that he appears to have commenced them 
about B.C. 163, and to have concluded them some time 
before B.C. 140, when he was in his turn attacked by 
the Syrians. Probably they had been all effected by 
the year B.C. 150 ; since there is reason to believe that 
about that time 4 Mithridates found his power sufficiently 

Bellum cum Ely- 
msBorum rege gessit [Mithridates].' 

2 If the Persians and Babylo- 
nians had been reduced by force of 
arms, Justin would probably have 
mentioned their reduction in Bk. 
xli. ch. 6. As it is, we must regard 
the submission of the Babylonians 
as implied in that chapter, and that 
of the Persians in Bk. xxxvi. ch. 1. 

3 The reduction of the Babylo- 

nians is assigned by Orosius (v. 5) 
to the time of the contest between 
Demetrius and Alexander Balas, 
B.C. 153-151. But the authority is 
not very good, and it is probable 
that they submitted earlier. 

4 The reduction of the Bactrians 
by Mithridates is implied in the 
statement of Justin, that they were 
among the people who welcomed 
the expedition of Demetrius, having 



[Ch. V. 

established in the west to allow of his once more turn- 
ing his attention eastward, and renewing his aggres- 
sions upon the Bactrian kingdom, which had passed 
from the rule of Encratidas under that of his son and 
successor, Heliocles. 1 

Heliocles, who was allowed by his father a quasi- 
royal position, 2 obtained the full possession of the 
Bactrian throne by the crime of parricide. It is 
conjectured that he regarded with disapproval his 
father's tame submission to Parthian ascendancy, and 
desired the recovery of the provinces which Eucratidas 
had been content to cede for the sake of peace. 3 We 
are told that he justified his crime on the ground that 
his father was a public enemy ; 4 which is best ex- 
plained by supposing that he considered him the friend 
of Bactria's great enemy, Parthia. If this be the true 
account of the circumstances under which he became 
king, his accession would have been a species of chal- 
lenge to the Parthian monarch, whose ally he had 
assassinated. Mithridates accordingly marched against 
him with all speed, and easily defeating his troops, took 
possession of the greater part of his dominions. 5 Elated 
by this success, he is said to have pressed eastward, to 
have invaded India, and over-run the country as far as 
the river Hydaspes; but, if it be true that his arms pene- 

experienced the cruelty of the 
Parthians (xxxvi. 1). The exact 
time of the invasion, and the Bac- 
trian monarch who resisted it, are 

1 This relation of Heliocles to 
Eucratidas is proved by a coin, 
which shows him to have been 
associated with that monarch, 
ag-reeablv to the statement of Jus- 
tin. (See Wilson, Ar. Ant. p. 264 ; 
Lassen, Ind. Alt. ii. p. 31o.) Major 

Cunningham's idea, that the effigies 
on the obverse of this coin represent 
the father and mother of Eucrati- 
das, seems to me quite untenable. 

2 Justin, xli. 6, § 5. 

3 Wilson, p. 264. 

4 Justin, l.s.c. It may have been 
in the same spirit that Heliocles 
took the epithet of Ainaioc, which 
appears upon his coins. 

5 Justin, xli. G. 

Orosius, v. 5. Compare Diod. 

Xondoru: Longmans & Co. 

.'V '■.,■•.•.//' i IMv^WVller' 

Cn. v.] extent of empire under mitiiridates. 79 

trated so far, it is, at any rate, certain that he did not here 
effect any conquest. Greek monarchs * of the Bactrian 
series continued masters of Cabin and Western India 
till about B.C. 126 ; no Parthian coins are found in this 
region ; nor do the best authorities claim for Mitiiridates 
any dominion beyond the mountains which enclose on 
the west the valley of the Indus. 

By his war with Heliocles the empire of Mitiiridates 
reached its greatest extension. It comprised now, 
besides Parthia Proper, Bactria, Aria, Drangiana, 
Arachosia, Margiana, Hyrcania, the country of the 
Mardi, Media Magna, Susiana, Persia, and Babylonia. 
Very probably its limits were still wider. The power 
which possessed Parthia, Hyrcania, and Bactria, would 
rule almost of necessity over the whole tract between 
the Elburz range and the Oxus, if not even over the 
region between the Oxus and the Jaxartes : that which 
held the Caspian mountains and eastern Media could 
not fail to have influence over the tribes of the Iranic 
desert ; while Assyria Proper would naturally follow 
the fortunes of Babylonia and Susiana. 2 Still the ex- 
tent of territory thus indicated rests only on conjecture. 
If we confine ourselves to what is known by positive 
evidence, we can only say that the Parthian Kingdom 
of this period contained, at least, the twelve provinces 
above enumerated. It thus stretched from east to west 
a distance of fifteen hundred miles between the Sulei- 
man mountains and the Euphrates, varying in width from 
three or four hundred miles — or even more — towards 
the west and east, to a narrow strip of less than a 

Sic. xxxiii. 20. These conquests 
are somewhat doubtful, since Justin 
seems to have known nothing of 

pp.. 268-300. 

2 Moses of Chorene makes As- 
syria subject to Mitiiridates, whom 
he calls ' the great Arsaces ' {Hid. 

1 See Wilson, Ariana Antiqua, \ Armen. ii. 4 ; § 1). 



[Ch. V. 

hundred miles towards the centre. It probably com- 
prised an area of about 450,000 square miles ; which 
is somewhat less than that of the modern Persia. 

Unlike the modern Persia, however, the territory 
consisted almost entirely of productive regions. The 
excellent quality of the soil in Parthia Proper, Hyrcania, 
and Margiana, has been already noticed. 1 Bactria, the 
next province to Margiana towards the east, was less 
uniformly fertile ; but still it contained, a considerable 
proportion of good land along the course of the Oxus 
and its tributaries, which was cultivated in vineyards 
and cornfields, or else pastured large herds of cattle. 2 
The Mardian mountain territory was well wooded ; 3 and 
the plain between the mountains and the Caspian was 
rich in the extreme. 4 Media, where it adjoined on the 
desert, was comparatively sterile ; but still even here 
an elaborate system of artificial irrigation brought a 
belt of land under culture. 5 Further west, in the 
Zagros chain, Media comprised some excellent pasture 
lands, 6 together with numerous valleys as productive as 
any in Asia. 7 Elyma'is was, in part, of the same cha- 
racter with the mountainous portion of Media, while 
beyond the mountains it sank down into a rich alluvium, 
not much inferior to the Babylonian. 8 Babylonia itself 
was confessedly the most fertile country in Asia. It 
produced wheat, barley, millet, sesame, vetches, dates, 

1 Supra, pp. 7, 10, and 12. 

2 Q. Curt. Hist. Alex. vii. 4, 
§ 2G : ' Bactriana terra multiplex 
et varia natura est. Alibi multa 
arbor, et vitis largos mitesque fruc- 
tus alit : solum pingue crebri fontes 
rig-ant ; quae mitiora sunt frumento 
conseruntur : ccetera armentorum 
pabulo cedunt.' 

3 Ibid. vi. 5. 

4 Ibid. vi. 4. 

5 Polyb. x. 28, 


6 Especially the district called 
Niaaaa, where the Nisaean horses 
were bred. (Arrian, Exp. Al. vii. 

Sic. xv 
Am. Marc, xxiii. 6.) 

7 See Ancient Monarchies, vol. ii. 
pp. 289, 290, 2nd ed. 

8 Strab. xv. 3, § 11. 


and fruits of all kinds. 1 The return of the wheat crop 
was from fifty to a hundred-and-fifty-fold ; 2 while that 
of the barley crop was three hundred-fold. 3 The dates 
were of unusual size and superior flavour ; 4 and 
the palm, which abounded throughout the region, 
furnished an inexhaustible supply both of fruit and 
timber. 5 

The great increase of power which Mithridates had 
obtained by his conquests could not be a matter of 
indifference to the Syrian monarchs. Their domestic 
troubles — the contentions between Philip and Lysias, 
between Lysias and Demetrius Soter, Soter and Alex- 
ander Balas, Balas and Demetrius II., Demetrius II. and 
Tryphon, had so engrossed them for the space of twenty 
years (from B.C. 162 to B.C. 142), that they had felt it 
impossible, or hopeless, to attempt any expedition 
towards the East, for the protection or recovery of their 
provinces. Mithridates had been allowed to pursue his 
career of conquest unopposed, so far as the Syrians 
were concerned, and to establish his sway from the 
Hindoo Koosh to the Euphrates. But a time at last 
came when home dangers were less pressing, and a 
prospect of engaging the terrible Parthians with success 
seemed to present itself. The second Demetrius had 
not, indeed, wholly overcome his domestic enemy, 
Tryphon ; but he had so far brought him into difficul- 
ties as to believe that he might safely be left to be 
dealt with by his wife, Cleopatra, and by his captains. 6 

1 Herod, i. 193 ; Berosus, Fr. 1, j Amm. Marc. xxiv. 3 ; Zosim. iii. 
§ 2. I p. 173. 

2 Theophrast. Hist. Plant, viii. j 6 The troubles of the reign of 
7 ; Plin. II. y. xviii. 17. j Demetrius are given with much 

3 Strab. xvi. 1, § 14. fulness in the first book of Macca- 

4 Theophrast. Hist. Plant, ii. 2. bees, ch. xi.-xiii. 

3 Herod. 1. s. c. ; Strab. 1. s. c. 



At the same time the condition of affairs in the East 
seemed to invite his interference. Mithridates ruled 
his new conquests with some strictness, 1 suspecting, pro- 
bably, their fidelity, and determined that he would not 
by any remissness allow them to escape from his grasp. 
The native inhabitants could scarcely be much attached 
to the Syro-Macedonians, who had certainly not 
treated them very tenderly ; 2 but a possession of 170 
years' duration confers prestige in the East, and a 
strange yoke may have galled more than one to whose 
pressure they had become accustomed. Moreover, all 
the provinces which Parthia took from Syria contained 
Greek towns, and their inhabitants might at all times 
be depended on to side with their countrymen against 
the Asiatics. At the present conjuncture, too, the num- 
ber of the malcontents was swelled by the addition of 
the recently subdued Bactrians, who hated the Parthian 
yoke, and longed earnestly for a chance of recovering 
their freedom. 

Thus when Demetrius II. , anxious to escape the 
reproach of inertness, 3 determined to make an expedi- 
tion against the great Parthian monarch, he found 
himself welcomed as a deliverer by a considerable 
number of his enemy's subjects, whom the harshness, 
or the novelty, of the Parthian rule had offended. 4 The 
malcontents joined his standard as he advanced ; and 
supported, as he thus was, by Persian, Elymaean, and 
Bactrian contingents, he engaged and defeated the Par- 
thians in several battles. 5 Upon this, Mithridates, 

1 The provinces complained of 
Iris cruelty (' propter Arsacidre regis 
Parthorum crudelitatem.' — Justin, 
xxxvi. 1, § 3). 

2 See above, p. 73. 

3 Justin, xxxvi. 1, § 2 : l ad abo- 
lendam segnitice maculam.' j fudit.' (lb. § 4. Compare xxxviii. 

4 ' Quod veteri Macedonum im- j 9 ; § 2.) 

perio admoti, novi populi super- 
biam indigne ferebant.' (Justin, 
xxxvi. 1, § 3.) 

5 'Cum et Persarum, et Ely- 
mseorum, et Bactrianorum auxiliis 
juvaretur, multis prceliis Parthos 



finding himself inferior in strength, had recourse to 
stratagem, and having put Demetrius off his guard by 
proposals of peace, 1 attacked him, defeated him, and 
took him prisoner. 2 The invading army appears to 
have been destroyed. 3 The captive monarch was, in 
the first instance, conveyed about to the several nations 
which had revolted, and paraded before each in turn, 
as a proof to them of their folly in lending him aid ; 4 
but afterwards he w r as treated in a manner befitting his 
rank and the high character of his captor. 5 Assigned 
a residence in Hyrcania, he was maintained in princely 
state, and was even promised by Mithridates the hand 
of his daughter, Khodogune. 6 The Parthian monarch, 
it is probable, had the design of conquering Syria, and 
thought it possible that he might find it of advantage to 
have a Syrian prince in his camp, well-disposed towards 
him, connected by marriage, and thus fitted for the 
position, of tributary monarch. But the schemes of 
Mithridates proved abortive. His career had now 
reached its close. Attacked by illness 7 not very long 
after his capture of Demetrius, his strength proved 
insufficient to bear up against the malady, and he 
died after a glorious reign of about thirty-eight years, 
B.C. 136. 

1 'Ad postremimi tamen pacis 
simulatione deceptus capital* ' (lb. 
xxxvi. 1, § 6). ■ Repente insidiis 
circumventus ' (lb. xxxviii. 9, § 2). 

2 Justin, 1. s. c. ; Appian, Syriac. 
p. 132, A • Diod. Sic. xxxiv. 15; 
Oros. v. 4. 

3 ' Amisso exercitu ' (Justin, 
xxxviii. 9, 2). Comp. 1 Mac. xiv. 

4 Justin, xxxvi. 1, § 5 : • Traduc- 
tus per ora civitatium, populis, qui 
desciverant, in ludibrium favoris 


5 Ibid. 1. s. c. : * Missus deinde in 
Hyrcaniam,benigne et juxta cultum 
pristine fortunsehabetur.' Compare 
xxxviii. 9, § 3. ■ Cui Arsacides 
Parthorum rex, mac/no et regio ani- 
mo. misso in Hyrcaniam non 
cultum tantum regium praestitit, 
sed et filiam in matrimonium dedit, 

6 App. Syriac. l.s.c. 

7 • Adversa valetudine correptus' 
(Justin, xli. G, § 9). 

g 2 



System of government established by Mithridates I. Constitution of the 
Parthians. Government of the Provinces. Linos and Institutions. 
Character of Mithridates I. 

1 Rex, magno ct rogio animo.' — Justin, xxxviii., 9, § 3. 

The Parthian institutions possessed great simplicity ; 
and it is probable that they took a shape in the reign 
of Arsaces I., or, at any rate, of Tiridates, which was 
not greatly altered afterwards. Permanency is the law 
of Oriental governments ; and in a monarchy which 
lasted less than five hundred years, it is not likely that 
many changes occurred. The Parthian institutions are 
referred to Mithridates I., rather than to Tiridates, 
because in the reign of Mithridates Parthia entered 
upon a new phase of her existence — became an empire 
instead of a mere monarchy ; and the sovereign of the 
time could not but have reviewed the circumstances of 
his State, and have determined either to adopt the 
previous institutions of his country, or to reject them. 
Mithridates I. had attained a position which entitled 
and enabled him to settle the Parthian constitution 
as he thought best ; and, if he maintained an earlier 
arrangement, which is uncertain, he must have done so 
of his own free will, simply because he preferred the 
existing Parthian institutions to any other. Thus the 
institutions may be regarded as starting from him, since 
he approved them, and made them those of the Par- 
thian EMPIEE. 

Like most sovereignties which have arisen out of an 

Ch. VI.] 


association of chiefs banding themselves together for 
warlike purposes under a single head, the Parthian 
monarchy was limited. The king was permanently 
advised by two councils, consisting of persons not of 
his own nomination, whom rights, conferred by birth or 
office, entitled to their seats. One of these was a family 
conclave (concilium domesticum), or assembly of the 
full-grown males of the Koyal House ; the other was a 
Senate comprising both the spiritual and the temporal 
chiefs of the nation, the Sophi, or ' Wise Men,' and the 
Magi, or ' Priests.' 1 Together these two bodies consti- 
tuted the Megistanes, the ' Nobles ' or ' Great Men ' — 
the privileged class which to a considerable extent 
checked and controlled the monarch. The monarchy 
was elective, but only in the house of the Arsacida3 ; 
and the concurrent vote of both councils was necessary 
in the appointment of a new king. Practically, the 
ordinary law of hereditary descent appears to have been 
followed, unless in the case where a king left no son of 
sufficient age to exercise the royal office. Under such 
circumstances, the Megistanes usually nominated the 
late king's next brother to succeed him, 2 or, if he had left 
behind him no brother, went back to an uncle. 3 When 
the line of succession had once been changed, the right 
of the elder branch was lost, and did not revive unless 
the branch preferred died out or possessed no member 
qualified to rule. When a king had been duly nomi- 
nated by the two councils, the right of placing the 

1 Posidonius ap. Strab. xi. 9, 

§ 3. 'YCjv Tiap9vaiu)v avve.5puw (prjaiv 
liven Uoaeidi'oviog CLTTO)', to fiiv avy- 
ytvCoVy to de ootyCov wed /tiaywi', t£ wv 
dfifp.olv tovc fiarnXtli; KaQiaraaOat. 

2 There are five instances of 
brothers succeeding — viz., those of 

Mithridates I., Orodes I., Gotarzes, 
Chosroes, and Artabanus III. One 
of these, however, that of Mithri- 
dates I., is ascribed to the will of 
the previous monarch. 

3 As in the case of Artabanus I., 
the successor of Phraates II. 


diadem upon his head belonged to the Surena, 1 the 
8 Field-Marshal,' or ' Commander in Chief of the Par- 
thian armies.' The Megistanes further claimed and 
sometimes exercised the right of deposing a monarch 
whose conduct displeased them ; but an attempt to 
exercise this privilege was sure to be followed by a 
civil war, no monarch accepting his deposition without 
a struggle ; and force, not right, practically determining 
whether he should remain kins or no. 

After a king was once elected and firmly fixed upon 
the throne, his power appears to have been nearly 
despotic. At any rate, he could put to death without 
trial whomsoever he chose ; and adult members of the 
Eoyal House, who provoked the reigning monarch's 
jealousy, were constantly so treated. 2 Probably it 
would have been more dangerous to arouse the fears of 
the ' Sophi ' and ' Magi.' The latter especially were a 
powerful body, consisting of an organised hierarchy, 
which had come down from ancient times, and was 
feared and venerated by all classes of the people. 3 
Their numbers at the close of the Empire, counting 
adult males only, are reckoned at eighty thousand ; 4 
they possessed considerable tracts of fertile land, 5 and 
were the sole inhabitants of many large towns or vil- 
lages, which they were permitted to govern as they 
pleased. 6 The arbitrary power of the monarchs must, 
in practice, have been largely checked by the privileges 

1 Tacit. Ami. vi. 42 ; Appian, ! 3 The high position of the Magi 
Partk. p. 141, A. According to I under the Parthian kings is strongly 
this latter writer, the right was j marked by their place in the Great 
hereditary in the family to which J Council. (See above, p. 85, note IV) 
the Surena who opposed Crassus 

2 Phraates IV., on his accession, 
put to death his twenty-nine 

4 Gibbon, Decline and Fall, vol. i. 
p. 333 (Smith's edition). 

5 Amm. Marc, xxiii. G ; p. 405. 

6 Ibid. p. 40G. 

Cn. VI] THE YITAX.E. 87 

of this numerous priestly caste, of which it would seem 
that in later times they became jealous, thereby pre- 
paring the way for their own downfal. 1 

The dominion of the Parthians over the conquered 
provinces was maintained by reverting to the system 
which had prevailed generally through the East before 
the accession of the Persians to power, and establishing 
in the various countries either viceroys, holding office 
for life, or sometimes dependent dynasties of kings. 2 
In either case, the rulers, so long as they paid tribute 
regularly to the Parthian monarchs and aided them in 
their wars, were allowed to govern the people beneath 
their sway at their pleasure. Among monarchs, in the 
higher sense of the term, may be enumerated the kings 
of Persia, 3 Elymais, 4 Adiabene, 5 Osrhoene, and of 
Armenia and Media Atropatene, when they formed, as 
they sometimes did, portions of the Parthian Empire. 
The viceroys, who governed the other provinces, bore 
the title of Vitaxm (fiicrTaKes), and were fourteen or 
fifteen in number. 7 The remark has been made by 
the historian, Gibbon, 8 that the system thus established 
' exhibited, under other names, a lively image of the 
feudal system, which has since prevailed in Europe.' 

1 Agathias, ii. 25. To nayiKbv 

c*ji;\oj/ iyKpar't^ t'£ tKih'ov [roi; 'Apra- 
%apov~] ysyovt teal uylpoj^ov, ov fikv 

i'/Cll Kill TtportpOV, OVTTk) Ck it,' TOVTO 

rijiTiq ts icai Trapprjcriac; i)pf.izvoi', dXK' 
v-oiov v-u twv tv t'iKu iariv y k<x\ 


5 Joseph. Ant. Jud. xx. 2 ; Oros. 
vii. 6 ; Dio Cass, lxviii. 19. 

6 Dio Cass. xl. 20 ; lxviii. 18. 

7 Ammianus makes the vitaxm 
eighteen in number, but includes 

-towflunQcu. among them the ' kings ' of Persia, 

2 Pliny correctly calls the Par- i Susiana, &c. lie explains the term 
thian provinces ' kingdoms.' (' Reg- as signifying ' Masters of the Horse 
na Parthorum octodecim sunt and Hoy al Satraps'; butllesychius 
omnia/ II. X. vi. 25.) The Greek ' says more briefly, and probably more 

writers most commonly call them 
' satrapies,' but incorrectly. 

3 Strab. xv. 3, § 24. 

4 Ibid. xvi. 1, § 19. This 
monarch appears to have had special 

Correctly, fiioTat, u [SamXtvg Ttapu 
Itiprrate (i.e. Haotiotc}. 

8 Decline and Fall, vol. i. p. 339, 
Smith's edition. 


The comparison is of some value, but, like most histo- 
rical parallels, it is inexact, the points of difference 
between the Parthian and the feudal system being 
probably more numerous than those of resemblance, 
but the points of resemblance being very main points, 
not few in number, and striking. 

It was with special reference to the system thus 
established that the Parthian monarchs took the title of 
' King of Kings ' (ySacriXeus /SacnAeW), so frequent upon 
their coins, 1 which seems sometimes to have been 
exchanged for what was regarded as an equivalent 
phrase, 2 ' Satrap of Satraps ' (aarpaTn)*; twp oraTpairoiv). 
This title seems to appear first on the coins of Mith- 
ridates I. 

In the Parthian system there was one anomaly of a 
very curious character. The Greek towns, which were 
scattered in large numbers throughout the Empire, 3 
enjoyed a municipal government of their own, and in 
some cases were almost independent communities, the 
Parthian kings exercising over them little or no control. 
The great city of Seleucia on the Tigris was the most 
important of all these : its population was estimated in 
the first century after Christ at six hundred thousand 
souls ; 4 it had strong walls, 5 and was surrounded by a 

1 See Lindsay, History of the Par- | title equivalent to king. 
thians, p. 213. In one instance the I 3 Appian enumerates twenty-five 

phrase is exchanged for [3aot\tvovTog 

2 The phrase ' Satrap of Satraps ' 
occurs only in one inscription, that 
of Gotarzes at Behistun, and has 
been thought to throw some doubt 
on the identification of the Gotarzes 
who set it up with the twenty-first 
Arsaces. But the doubt is scarcely 
reasonable ; and it does not seem 
unlikely that under the Parthian 
system the distinct force of the 
word ' satrap ' would be lost, and 
it would come to be regarded as a 

besides those which Seleucus Nica- 
tor built and named after himself 
or his relations, which he estimates 
at thirty-five more. (Syriaca, pp. 
124, 125.) Isidore of Charax finds, 
upon a single line of route, sixteen 
{Mans. Parth. § 1-19). On the 
general subject, see Grote, History 
of Greece, vol. viii. p. 474, ed. of 

4 Plin. //. N. vi. 26. 

5 'Civitas potens, septa muris.' 
(Tac. Ami. vi. 42.) 


most fertile territory. 1 It had its own senate, or muni- 
cipal council, of three hundred members, elected by the 
people to rule them from among the wealthiest and 
best educated of the citizens. 2 Under ordinary circum- 
stances, it enjoyed the blessing of complete self-govern- 
ment, and was entirely free from Parthian interference, 
paying no doubt its tribute, but otherwise holding the 
position of a ' free city.' It was only in the case of 
internal dissensions that these advantages were lost, 
and the Parthian soldiery, invited within the walls, 
arranged the quarrels of parties, and settled the consti- 
tution of the State at its pleasure. Privileges of a 
similar character, though, probably, less extensive, 
belonged (it would seem) to most of the other Greek 
cities of the Empire. The Parthian monarchs thought 
it politic to favour them ; and their practice justified 
the title of ' Phil-Hellene,' which they were fond of 
assuming upon their coins. On the whole, the policy 
may have been wise, but it diminished the unity of the 
Empire ; and there were times when serious danger 
arose from it. The Syro-Macedonian monarchs could 
always count with certainty on having powerful friends 
in Parthia, whatever portion of it they invaded ; and 
even the Eomans, though their ethnic connection with 
the cities was not so close, were sometimes indebted to 
them for very important assistance. 3 

We are told that Mithridates L, after effecting his 
conquests, made a collection of the best laws which he 
found to prevail among the various subject peoples, and 
imposed them upon the Parthian nation. 4 This state- 

1 ' Ager totius Orientis fertilis- 
simus.' (Tim. l.s.c.) 

2 < Trecenti, opibus aut sapientia 
delecti, ut Senatus.' (Tacit, l.s.c.) 

and Macedonian colonies in Meso- 
potamia at the time of the inva- 
sion of Crassus (xl. 13). Compare 
Appian, Parthica, p. 136, D. 

3 See what Dio says of the Greek I 4 Diod. Sic. xxxiii. 20. 


ment is, no doubt, an exaggeration ; but we may attri- 
bute, with some reason, to Mithridates the introduction 
at this time of various practices and usages, • whereby 
the Parthian Court was assimilated to those of the 
earlier Great Monarchies of Asia, and became in the 
eyes of foreigners the successor and representative of 
the old Assyrian and Persian Kingdoms. The assump- 
tion of new titles and of a new state — the organisation 
of the Court on a new plan — the bestowal of a new 
character on the subordinate officers of the Empire, 
were suitable to the new phase of its life on which the 
monarchy had now entered, and may with the highest 
probability, if not with absolute certainty, be assigned 
to this period. 

It has been already noticed that Mithridates appears 
to have been the first Parthian sovereign who took the 
title of ' King of Kings.' 1 The title had been a favourite 
one with the old Assyrian and Persian monarchs, 2 but 
was not adopted either by the Seleucida? or by the 
Greek kings of Bactria. 3 Its revival implied a distinct 
pretension to that mastery of Western Asia which had 
belonged of old to the Assyrians and Persians, and 
which was, in later times, formally claimed by Arta- 
xerxes, 4 the son of Sassan, the founder of the New 
Persian Kingdom. Previous Parthian monarchs had 
been content to call themselves 'the King,' or 'the 
Great King ' — Mithridates is ' the King of Kings, the 
great and illustrious Arsaces.' 

At the same time Mithridates appears to have 

1 Supra, p. 88. | style at first, but afterwards change 

8 See Tiglath-Pikscr Inscription, it for BASIAEQS metaloy. (See 

p. 20 ; liekist. Ins. col. i. par. 1 ; Wilson, Ariana Antiqua, pp. 237- 

Persep. Ins. passim. 241.) Tigranes of Armenia, like 

3 The Seleucidre from first to last the later Parthian monarchs, claims 

retain the modest BA2JAEQ2. The to he (3am\fbg fiacrihkiov. 

Graeco-Bactrian kings use the same 4 Herodian, vi. 6. 



assumed the tiara, or tall stiff crown, which, with cer- 
tain modifications in its shape, had been the mark of 
sovereignty, both under the Assyrians and under the 
Persians. Previously the royal head-dress had been 
either a mere cap of a Scythic type, but lower than the 
Scyths commonly wore it ; x or the ordinary diadem,which 
was a band round the head terminating in two long rib- 
bons or ends, that huno'downbehind the head on the back. 
According to Herodian, the diadem, in the later times, 

Arsaces I. 

Mithridates I. 

Aitabanus I. 

was double ; 2 but the coins of Parthia do not exhibit 
this peculiarity. 

Ammianus says, 3 that among the titles assumed by 
the Parthian monarchs was that of ' Brother of the Sun 
and Moon.' It appears that something of a divine 
character was regarded as attaching to the race. In 
the civil contentions, which occur so frequently through- 
out the later history, combatants abstained from lifting 
their hands knowingly against an Arsacid, to kill or 
wound one being looked upon as sacrilege. 4 The name 
of Gcbs was occasionally assumed, as it was in Syria ; 
and more frequently kings took the epithet of deoirdrajp, 
which implied the divinity of their father. 5 After his 

1 On the ordinary Scythic cap, 
see the author's Herodotus, vol. iii. 
p. 3, and vol. iv. p. 53. 

2 Herodian, vi. 6. 

3 Amm. Marc, xxiii. G ; l Ad id 
tempus reges ejusdem gentis per- 
tumidi, appellari se patiuntur Solis 
fratres atque Lunae.' The same 

title is home by the modern Shahs 
of Persia. 

4 Ibid. ( In qualibet civili con- 
certatione, quae assidue apud eos 
eveniunt, velut sacrilegium quisque 
cavet ne dextera sua Arsacidem 
arraa gestantem feriat vel privatum.' 

5 According to Mr. Lindsay, 


death a monarch seems generally to have been the 
object of a qualified worship ; statues were erected to 
him in the temples, where (apparently) they were asso- 
ciated with the images of the great luminaries. 1 

Of the Parthian Court and its customs we have no 
account that is either complete or trustworthy. Some 
particulars, however, may be gathered of it on which 
we may place reliance. The best authorities are agreed 
that it was not stationary, but migrated at different 
times of the year to different cities of the Empire, in 
this resembling the Court of the Achamienians. It is 
not quite clear, however, which were the cities thus 
honoured. Ctesiphon was undoubtedly one of them. 
All writers agree that it was the chief city of the Em- 
pire, and the ordinary seat of the government. 2 Here, 
according to Strabo, the kings passed the winter months, 
delighting in the excellence of the air. 3 The town was 
situated on the left bank of the Tigris, opposite to 
Seleucia, twelve or thirteen miles below the modern 
Baghdad. Pliny says 4 that it was built by the Par- 
tisans in order to reduce Seleucia to insignificance, and 
that when it failed of its purpose, they built another 
city, Vologesocerta, in the same neighbourhood with 
the same object ; but the account of Strabo is more 

Priapatius was the first ' Theopator ' | taxata deportaverat, ea Artasires 
(History of the Parthians, p. 213). j confregit.' 

Others make the first to have been 2 Pliny calls it i caput regnorum ' 
Phraates II., the son aud successor ' (H. JY. yi. 26); Tacitus, 'sedes 

of Mithridates (Clinton, Fasti JRo- 
mani, vol. ii. p. 252). The first king 
who took the epithet of Qtbg is 
thought to be Phraates III. (Ibid.) 
1 See Mos. Chor. Hist. Armen. 
ii. 74. i Fanorum religiones pra3- 
cipue instauravit. . . Statuas 
autem, quas Valarsaces majoribus 
suis statuerat, Solisque et Lunce 

imperii ' {Ann. vi. 26). Dio Cas- 
sius describes it as 7n>A<<; i>- 7J 

firiniXtia [ot Ylap9oi~\ ixovffi (Hist. 

Rom. xl. 4o) ; Ammianus (xxiii. 6, 
p. 402), as * Persidis specimen 

3 'EiutOaoiv hrnvOa tuu xtifxiovag 
Siayeii> oi fiamXtig did to eudtpov 

(xvi. 1, § 16). 

simulachra, qure ille . . . Ar- j 4 //. K. vi. 26 ; § 122. 

Cn. VI.] 



probable — viz., that it grew up gradually out of the 
wish of the Parthian kings to spare Seleucia the unplea- 
santness of having the rude soldiery, which followed the 
Court from place to place, quartered upon them. 1 The 
remainder of the year, Strabo tells us, was spent by the 
Parthian kings either at the Median city of Ecbatana, 
which is the modern Hamadan, or in the province of 
Hyrcania. 2 In Hyrcania, the palace, according to him, 
was at Tape ; 3 and between this place and Ecba- 
tana he no doubt regarded the monarchs as spend- 
ing the time which was not passed at Ctesiphon. 
Ath enasiis, however, declares that Phages was the spring 
residence of the Parthian kings ; 4 and it seems not 
unlikely that this famous city, which Isidore, writing in 
Parthian times, calls - the greatest in Media,' 5 was 
among the occasional residences of the Court. Parthia 
itself was, it would seem, deserted ; 6 but still a city of 
that region preserved in one respect a royal character, 
being the place where all the earlier kings were 
interred. 7 

The pomp and grandeur of the Parthian monarchs 
are described only in the vaguest terms by the classical 
writers. No author of repute appears to have visited 
the Parthian Court. We may perhaps best obtain a 
true notion of the splendour of the sovereign from the 
accounts which have reached us of his relations and 

1 Strab. l.S.C. Taurrjv Ittoiovvto 
■^dpadiov oi. tuiv YlapQva'uov (3aoi\iiCj 
(pacoutvoi tCjv SeXtvicidiv, iva fii) 


2 Strab. l.s.c. Compare xi. 13, 


3 Ibid. xi. 7, § 2. 

4 Deipnosoph. xii. 8 ; p. 514. 

5 Mans. Parth. § 7. 

6 An occasional flying visit may 

have been paid to Hecatompylos, 
where the old palace of the early 
kings was maintained at least to the 
time of Strabo (xi. 9, § 1) j but the 
province was not rich enough to 
furnish food for the vast numbers 
of the later Court. (Ibid.) 

7 Isid. Char. Mans. Parth. § 12. 
In later times Arbela appears to 
have become the royal burying- 
place (D. Cass, lxxviii. 1). 


officers, who can have reflected only faintly the magni- 
ficence of the sovereign. Plutarch tells us that the 
general whom Orocles deputed to conduct the war 
against Crassns came into the field accompanied by two 
hundred litters wherein were contained his concu- 
bines, and by a thousand camels which carried his 
bao-o-ao'e. 1 His dress was fashioned after that of the 
Medes ; lie wore his hair parted in the middle, and had 
his face painted with cosmetics. 2 A body of ten thou- 
sand horse, composed entirely of his clients and slaves, 
followed him in battle. 3 We may conclude from this 
picture, and from the general tenor of the classical 
notices, that the Arsacida3 revived and maintained very 
much such a Court as that of the old Achasmenian 
princes, falling probably somewhat below their model 
in politeness and refinement, but equalling it in luxury, 
in extravagant expenditure, and in display. 

Such seems to have been the general character of those 
practices and institutions which distinguished the Par- 
tisans from the foundation of their Empire by Mithri- 
dates. Some of them, it is probable, he rather adopted 
than invented ; but there is no good reason for doubt- 
ing that of many he was the originator. He appears 
to have been one of those rare individuals to whom it 
has been given to unite the powers which form the 
conqueror with those which constitute the successful 
organiser of a State. Brave and enterprising in war, 
prompt to seize an occasion and to turn it to the best 
advantage, not even averse to severities where they 
seemed to be required, he yet felt no acrimony towards 
those who had resisted his arms, but was ready to be- 

1 Plutarch, Vit. Crass. § 21. I 2 Plut. Vit 
Comp. Appian, Parthica, p. 141, A. ' 3 Ibid. § 2 

Plut. Vit. Crass. § 24. 


friend them so soon as their resistance ceased. Mild, 
clement, philanthropic, 1 he conciliated those whom he 
subdued almost more easily than he subdued them, and 
by the efforts of a few years succeeded in welding- 
together a dominion which lasted without suffering 
serious mutilation for nearly four centuries. Though 
not dignified with the epithet of c Great,' he was beyond 
all question the greatest of the Parthian monarchs. 
Later times did him more justice than his contempo- 
raries, and, when the names of almost all the other 
kings had sunk into oblivion, retained his in honour, 
and placed it on a par with that of the original founder 
of Parthian independence. 2 

1 Diod. Sic. xxxiii. 20. 

2 See Agathias, who, writing- 

'6\<uv 7c\i)v AiyviTTOv I'lyovvTOj 'Ap- 


under the Byzantine emperors, ab. ; a nog apgctfiivov, 6>g icai 'ApaaKicag 
A.D. 560-580, thus Slims lip the j Tovg per' auruv ovopd'CtvOat, MiQpi- 

Parthian period : ttapQvaloi, IQvog 
kcitiikoov Kai i'/iciara tv T(p irpb rov 
ovopaaToTciTov, irapiXvaav r^g ctp^ig 
Tovg ?>lctKt£6vac. Kal eircc tKtivoi tuiv 

outov ck ov 7ro\X(p varepov Ig pikya 
ti icXeog to YlapQva'uov uvojtia 
k^sveyicovrog. (Hist. ii. 25, ad 



[On. VIT. 


Reign of Phraates II. Expedition of Antiochus Sidetes against Parthia. 
Release of Demetrius. Defeat and Death of Sidetes. War of Phraates 
with the Northern Nomads. His death and character. 

' Post neccm Mithridatis, Parthorum regis, Phrahatcs filius ejus rex 
constituitur.' — Justin, xlii. 1, § 1. 

Mitiiridates was succeeded by his son, Phraates, the 
second monarch of the name, and the seventh Arsaces. 
This prince, entertaining, like his father, the design of 
invading Syria, and expecting to find some advantage 
from having in his camp the rightful occupant of the 
Syrian throne, 1 treated the captive Demetrius with 
even greater kindness than his father had done, not 
only maintaining him handsomely, but even giving him 
his sister, Bhodogune, in marriage. 2 Demetrius, how- 
ever, was not to be reconciled to his captivity by any 
such blandishments, and employed his thoughts chiefly 
in devising plans by which he might escape. By the 
help of a friend, he twice managed to evade the vigi- 
lance of his guards, and to make his way from Hyrcania 
towards the frontiers of his own kingdom ; but each 
time he was pursued and caught without effecting his 
purpose. 3 The Parthian monarch was no doubt vexed 
at his pertinacity, and on the second occasion thought 
it prudent to feign, if he did not even really feel, offence : 
he banished his ungrateful brother-in-law from his 

1 Justin, xxxviii. 9, § 10., 

2 Appian, Sgriac. p. 132, A. 
Justin, however, makes the marriage 

take place in the reign of Mitiiri- 
dates (xxxviii. 9, § 3). 
3 Justin, § 4-8. 


presence, 1 but otherwise visited his crime with no 
severer penalty than ridicule. Choosing to see in his 
attempts to change the place of his abode no serious 
design, but only the wayward conduct of a child, he 
sent him a present of some golden dice, implying there- 
by that it was only for lack of amusement he had 
grown discontented with his Hyrcanian residence. 2 

Antiochus Sidetes, the brother of Demetrius, had 
been generally accepted by the Syrians as their monarch, 
at the time when the news reached them of that prince's 
defeat and capture by Mithridates. He was an active 
and enterprising sovereign, though fond of luxury and 
display. For some years (b.c. 140 — 137) the preten- 
sions of Tryphon to the throne gave him full occupation ; 3 
but, having finally established his authority after a 
short war, and punished the pretender with death, 
he found himself, in B.C. 137, at liberty to turn his arms 
against foreign enemies. He would probably have at 
once attacked Parthia, but for the attitude of a nearer 
neighbour, which he regarded as menacing, and as 
requiring his immediate attention. Demetrius, before 
his departure for the East, had rewarded the Jews for 
services rendered him in his war with Tryphon by an 
open acknowledgment of their independence. 4 Sidetes, 
though indebted to the Jewish High Priest, Simon, for 
offers of aid against the same adversary, 5 could not bring 
himself to pay the price for it which Demetrius had 
thought reasonable — an independent Palestine appeared 
to him a danger close to his doors, and one that 
imperilled the very existence of the Syrian State. Ac- 

1 *Ut invisus, a conspectu sub- 3 1 Mac. xv. 10-25; Appian, 
inovetur' (Ibid.). Syriac. p. 132, B. 

2 ' Talis aureia ad exprobrationem 4 1 Mac. xiii. 3G-42. 
puerilis levitatis donatur ' (Ibid.). 5 Ibid. xv. 2G. 



cordingly, lie had no sooner put down Tryphon than 
lie resolved to pick a quarrel with the Jews, and to 
force them to resume their old position of vassalage to 
Syria. 1 His general, Ccndebseus, invaded their country, 
but was defeated near Azotus. 2 Antiochus had to take 
the field in person. 3 During two years, John Hyrcanus, 
who had succeeded his father, Simon (b.c. 135), baffled 
all his efforts ; but at last, in B.C. 133, he was forced 
to submit, to acknowledge the authority of Syria, to 
dismantle Jerusalem, and to resume the payment of 
tribute. Sidetes then considered the time come for a 
Parthian expedition, and having made great prepara- 
tions, he set out for the East in the spring of B.C. 129. 

It is impossible to accept without considerable re- 
serve the accounts that have come down to us of the 
force which Antiochus collected. According to Jus- 
tin 4 it consisted of no more than 80,000 fighting 
men, to which was attached the incredible number of 
300,000 camp-followers, the majority being composed 
of cooks, bakers, and actors. As in other extreme 
cases the camp-followers do but equal or a little ex- 
ceed the number of men fit for service, 5 this estimate, 
which makes them nearly four times as numerous, is 
entitled to but little credit. The late writer, Orosius, 
corrects the error here indicated ; but his account 
seems to err in rating the supernumeraries too low. 
According to him, the armed force amounted to 
300,000, while the camp-followers, including grooms, 
suttlers, courtesans, and actors, were no more than a 

1 1 Mac. xv. 28-36. 6 Orosius wrote about a.d. 420. 

2 Ibid. xvi. 8-10. His chronology is exceedingly con- 

3 Euseb. Ckron. Can. i. 40, § 18; fused, but he occasionally preserves 
Joseph. Ant. Jud. xiii. 8, § 2. in his details important facts, which 

1 Justin, xxxviii. 10, § 2. ! lie has obtained from earlier writers. 

5 See Herod, vii. 186 ; Tacit. The passage here referred to is in 
Hist. iii. 33, &c. | Book v. ch. 10. 


third of the number. From the two accounts, taken 
together, we are perhaps entitled to conclude that the 
entire host did not fall much short of 400,000 men. 
This estimate receives confirmation from an indepen- 
dent statement made by Diodorus, with respect to the 
number who fell in the campaign — a statement of 
which we shall have to speak later. 1 

The army of Phraates, according to two accounts of 
it- (which, however, seem to represent a single original 
authority), numbered no more than 120,000. An 
attempt which he made to enlist in his service a body 
of Scythian mercenaries failed, the Scyths being willing 
to lend their aid, but arriving too late to be of any 
use. 3 At the same time a defection of the subject 
princes 4 deprived the Parthian monarch of contingents 
which usually swelled his numbers, and threw him 
upon the support of his own countrymen, chieliy or 
solely. Under these circumstances it is more surpris- 
ing that he was able to collect 120,000 men than that 
he did not bring into the field a larger number. 

The Syrian troops, magnificently appointed 5 and 
supported by a body of Jews under John Hyrcanus, 6 
advanced upon Babylon, receiving on their way the 
adhesion of many of the Parthian tributaries, who pro- 
fessed themselves disgusted by the arrogance and pride 
of their masters. 7 Phraates, on his part, advanced to 
meet his enemies, and in person or by his generals 

See below, p. 105. Val. Max. ix. 1), and their cooking 

2 Porphyr- ap. Euseb. Chron. 
Can. i. 40, § 18 ; Mos. Chor. Hist. 
Armen. ii. 2. 

3 Justin, xlii. 1, $ 2. 

4 Ibid, xxxviii. 10, § 5. 

utensils were of silver. 

6 Joseph. Ant. Jud. xiii. 8. The 
presence of Hyrcanus is con- 
firmed by Nicolas of Damascus 
(Fr. 74). 

5 According to Justin, the com- l 7 ' Cum execratione superbia3 
mon soldiers had their military Parthicse' (Justin, xxxviii. 10, § 5). 
boots fastened with gold (compare ! 


engaged Antiochus in tliree battles, but without suc- 
cess. Antiochus was three times a conqueror. In a 
battle fought upon the river Lycus (Zab) in further 
Assyria he defeated the Parthian general, Indates, and 
raised a trophy in honour of his victory. 1 The exact 
scene of the other combats is unknown, but they were 
probably in the same neighbourhood. The result of 
them was the conquest of Babylonia, and the general 
revolt of the remaining Parthian provinces, 2 which fol- 
lowed the common practice of deserting a falling 
house, and drew off or declared for the enemy. 

Under these circumstances Phraates, considering that 
the time was come when it was necessary for him to 
submit or to create a diversion by raising troubles in the 
enemy's territory, released Demetrius from his confine- 
ment, and sent him, supported by a body of Parthian 
troops, to reclaim his kingdom. 3 He thought it pro- 
bable that Antiochus, when the intelligence reached 
him, would retrace his steps, and return from Babylon 
to his own capital. At any rate his efforts would be 
distracted ; he would be able to draw fewer reinforce- 
ments from home ; and he would be less inclined to 
proceed to any great distance from his own country. 

Antiochus, however, was either uninformed of the 
impending danger or did not regard it as very pressing. 
The winter was approaching ; and, instead of withdraw- 
ing his troops from the occupied provinces and march- 
ing them back into Syria, he resolved to keep them 
where they were, merely dividing them, on account of 
their numbers, among the various cities which he had 
taken, and making them go into winter quarters. 4 It 

1 Xic. Dam. Fr. 74. 

2 Justin, xxxviii. 10, § 6. 

Forphyr. ap. Euseb. Chron. , 4 Justin, § 8 

Can. l.s.c. ; Appian, Syriac. p. 132, 
B ; Justin, xxxviii. 10 ; § 7. 


was, no doubt, his intention to remain quiet during the 
two or three winter months, after which he would 
have resumed the war, and have endeavoured to pene- 
trate through Media into Parthia Proper, where he 
might expect his adversary to make his last stand. 

But Phraates saw that the position of affairs was 
favourable for striking a blow before the spring came. 
The dispersion of his enemy's troops deprived him of 
all advantage from the superiority of their numbers. 
The circumstance of their being quartered in towns 
newly reduced, and unaccustomed to the rudeness and 
rapacity of soldiers and camp-followers, made it almost 
certain that complications would arise, and that it 
would not be long before in some places the Parthians, 
so lately declared to be oppressors, would be hailed as 
liberators. Moreover, the Parthians were, probably, 
better able than their adversaries to endure the hard- 
ships and severities of a campaign in the cold season. 1 
Parthia is a cold country, and the winters, both of the 
great plateau of Iran and of all the mountain tracts 
adjoining it, are severe. The climate of Syria is far 
milder. Moreover, the troops of Antiochus had, we 
are informed, been enervated by an excessive indul- 
gence on the part of their leader during the inarches 
and halts of the preceding summer. 2 Their appetites 
had been pampered ; their habits had become un- 

1 Dio (xl. 46) speaks of the Par- I sume as much as they would, but 
thians as disinclined to make war in even to carry away with them from 
winter, because a damp air relaxed the banquet, birds, beasts, and fish 
their bow-strings. But physically, | that had not been touched, to the 
they were as capable of enduring- extent of a waggon-load each ban- 
the winter cold as the summer quet ; in addition to which he pre- 
heats, sented them with honey-cakes and 

2 According to Posidonius, An- garlands scented with myrrh and 
tiochus in this expedition ' feasted frankincense tied with golden 
daily vast crowds of his men, and strings six feet long ' (Fr. 17). 
allowed his guests not only to con- ] 


manly ; their general tone was relaxed ; and they were 
likely to deteriorate still more in the wealthy and 
luxurious cities where they were bidden to pass the 

These various circumstances raised the spirits of 
Phraates, and made him hold himself in readiness to 
resume hostilities at a moment's notice. Nor was it 
long before the complications which he had foreseen 
began to occur. The insolence of the soldiers l quar- 
tered upon them exasperated the inhabitants of the 
Mesopotamian towns, and caused them to look back 
with regret to the time when they were Parthian sub- 
jects. The requisitions made on them for stores of all 
kinds was a further grievance. 2 After a while they 
opened communications with Phraates, and offered to 
return to their allegiance if he would assist them 
against their oppressors. Phraates gladly listened to 
these overtures. At his instigation, a plot was formed 
like that which has given so terrible a significance to 
the phrase ' Sicilian vespers.' It was agreed that on an 
appointed day all the cities should break out in revolt ; 
the natives should take arms, rise against the soldiers 
quartered upon them, and kill all, or as many as possi- 
ble. Phraates promised to be at hand with his army, 
to prevent the scattered detachments from giving help 
to each other. It was calculated that in tins way the 
invaders might be cut off almost to a man without the 
trouble of even fighting a battle. 

But, before he proceeded to extremities, the Parthian 
prince determined to give his adversary a chance of 

1 See Justin, xxxviii. 10, § 8 ; and : worse than others towards those on 
compare Diodorus (xxxv. 17, § 2), ! whom he was quartered, and to 
where Athenseus, one of the ge- have suffered for it afterwards, 
nerals of Antiochus, is said to have ! 2 Justin ; l.s.c. 
distinguished himself by behaving- ! 



escaping the fate prepared for him by timely conces- 
sions. The winter was not over ; but the snow was 
beginning to melt through the increasing warmth of 
the sun's rays, 1 and the day appointed for the general 
rising was probably drawing near. Phraates felt that 
no time was to be lost. Accordingly, he sent ambas- 
sadors to Antiochus to propose peace, and to inquire 
on what conditions it would be granted him. The 
reply of Antiochus, according to Diodorus, was as fol- 
lows : — 'If Phraates would release his prisoner, Deme- 
trius, from captivity, and deliver him up without 
ransom, 2 at the same time restoring all the provinces 
which had been taken from Syria, and consenting to 
pay a tribute for Parthia itself, peace might be had ; 
but not otherwise.' To such terms it was, of course, 
impossible that Phraates should listen ; and his am- 
bassadors, therefore, returned without further parley. 

Soon afterwards the day appointed for the outbreak 
arrived. Apparently, no suspicion had been excited. 
The Syrian troops were everywhere quietly enjoying 
themselves in their winter quarters, when, suddenly 
and without warning, they found themselves attacked 
by the natives. 3 Taken at disadvantage, it was im- 

1 This seems the only way of 
reconciling Diodorus (xxxv. 15) 
with Porphyry (ap. Euseb. l.s.c.) 
and Moses of Chorene (ii. 2). The 
last two distinctly state that the 
battle in which Antiochus fell was 
fought in the winter. Diodorus, 
on the other hand, speaks of the 
spring warmth as having begun to 
melt the snow, when Phraates 
sent his embassy. 

2 It would appear from this that 
Demetrius was either not yet re- 
leased, or not known to be at large 
by his brother. Probably the order 
to release him was sent to Ilyrca- 
nia at the beginning of the winter ; 

but it may well be that it could not 
be executed immediately. The 
severity of the weather makes 
travelling very difficult on the high 
plateau during December and 
January ; and it would have been 
especially hard to cross the Zagros 
range during this season. Deme- 
trius may not have reached Syria 
till February, and Antiochus may, 
therefore, not have known that he 
was at libertv. 

3 Justin, xxxviii. 10, § 8._ 'Die 
statuta omnes apud se divisum 
exercitum per insidias, ne invicem 
ferre auxilia possent, aggrediuntur.' 


possible for them to make a successful resistance ; and 
it -would seem that the great bulk of them were mas- 
sacred in their quarters. Antiochus, and the detach- 
ment stationed with him, alone, so far as we hear, 
escaped into the open field and contended for their 
lives in just warfare. 1 It had been the intention of the 
Syrian monarch, when he took the field, to hasten to 
the protection of the troops quartered nearest to him ; 
but he no sooner commenced his march than he found 
himself confronted by Phraates, who was at the head 
of his entire army, having, no doubt, anticipated Antio- 
chus's design and resolved to frustrate it. The Parthian 
prince was anxious to engage at once, as his force far 
outnumbered that commanded by his adversary ; but 
the latter might have declined the battle, if he had so 
willed, and have, at any rate, greatly protracted the 
struggle. He had a mountain region — Mount Zagros, 
probably — within a short distance of him, and might 
have fallen back upon it, so placing the Parthian horse 
at great disadvantage ; but he was still at an age when 
caution is apt to be considered cowardice, and temerity 
to pass for true courage. Despite the advice of one of 
his captains, he determined to accept the battle which 
the enemy offered, and not to fly before a foe whom he 
had three times defeated. 2 But the determination of 
the commander was ill seconded by his army. Though 
Antiochus fought strenuously, 3 he was defeated, since 
his troops were without heart and offered but a poor 
resistance. 4 Antiochus himself perished, either slain by 

1 Justin, xxxviii. 10, § 9 5 Diod. I cavit,' says Justin. 

Sic. xxxiv. 16. 4 'Metu suorum desertus, occi- 

2 Diod. Sic. l.s.c. , ditur ' (Justin, xxxviii. 10, § 10). 

3 'AvtSkxt-ro t))>> ru>v fiapfiafmv , Athenreus, the general who had 
trtioSov lupt'ooTioc, says Diodorus. 1 advised retreat, was the first to ily. 
i Fortius, quam exercitus ejus, dimi- (Diod. Sic. l.s.c.) 


the enemy or by his own hand. 1 His son, Seleucus, 
a boy of tender age,' 2 and his niece, a daughter of 
Demetrius, 3 who had accompanied him in his expedi- 
tion, were captured. His troops were either cut to 
pieces, or made prisoners. The entire number of those 
slain in the battle, and in the previous massacre, was 
reckoned at 300,000. 4 

Such was the issue of this great expedition. It was 
the last which any Seleucid monarch conducted into 
these countries — the final attempt made by Syria to re- 
possess herself of her lost Eastern provinces. Hence- 
forth, Parthia was no further troubled by the power 
that had hitherto been her most dangerous enemy, but 
was allowed to enjoy without molestation from Syria 
the conquests which she had effected. Syria, in fact, 
had from this time a difficulty in preserving her own 
existence. The immediate result of the destruction of 
Antiochusand his host was the revolt of Judaea, 5 which 
henceforth maintained its independence uninterruptedly. 
The dominions of the Seleucidae were reduced to 
Cilicia and Syria Proper, 6 or the tract west of the Eu- 
phrates, between Amanus and Palestine. Internally, 
the state was agitated by constant commotions from the 
claims of various pretenders to the sovereignty : exter- 
nally, it was kept in continual alarm by the Egyptians, 
Arabians, or Eoroans. During the sixty years 7 which 
elapsed between the return of Demetrius to his king- 

1 Justin, Porphyry, Josephus, and I 5 Joseph. Ant. Jud. xiii. 9. 
Orosius say that lie was slain ; i 6 Cilicia was lost e.c. 102. The 

Appian {Syriac. p. 132, B) and 
JElian (Hist. An. x. 34) declare that 
he killed himself. 

2 Porphyr. ap. Euseb. Chron. 
Can. xl. 18. 

3 Justin, l.s.c. 

4 Diod. Sic. xxxiv. 17, § 1. 

towns on the coast, Tyre, Sidon, 
Seleucia, &c, about the same time 
assumed independence. 

7 The exact time was sixty-three 
years, from the spring- of B.C. 128 
to B.C. 65. 


dom and the conversion of Syria into a Koman pro- 
vince, she ceased wholly to be formidable to her 
neighbours. Her flourishing period was gone by, and 
a rapid decline set in, from which there was no re- 
covery. It is surprising that the Eomans did not step 
in earlier and terminate a rule which was but a little 
removed from anarclry. Kome, however, had other 
work on her hands ; and the Syrian kingdom continued 
to exist till B.C. G5, though in a feeble and moribund 

But Phraates could not, without prophetic fore- 
sight, have counted on such utter prostration following 
as the result of a single — albeit a terrible — blow. Ac- 
cordingly, we find him still exhibiting a dread of the 
Seleucid power even after his great victory. He had 
released Demetrius too late to obtain any benefit from 
the hostile feeling which that jnince probably enter- 
tained towards his brother. Had he not released him 
too soon for his own safety ? Was it not to be feared 
that the Syrians might rally under one who was their 
natural leader, might rapidly recover their strength, 
and renew the struggle for the mastery of Western 
Asia ? The first thought of the dissatisfied monarch 
was to hinder the execution of his own project. Deme- 
trius was on his way to Syria, but had not yet arrived 
there, or, at any rate, his arrival had not been as yet 
reported. Was it not possible to intercept him ? The 
Parthian king hastily sent out a body of horse, with 
orders to pursue the Syrian prince at their best speed, 
and endeavour to capture him before he passed the 
frontier. 1 If they succeeded, they were to bring him 
back to their master, who would probably have then 

Justin, xxxviii. 10, § 11. 


committed his prisoner to close custody. The pursuit, 
however, failed. Demetrius had anticipated, or at 
least feared, a change of purpose, and, having prose- 
cuted his journey with the greatest diligence, had 
reached his own territory before the emissaries of 
Phraates could overtake him. 1 

It is uncertain whether policy or inclination dic- 
tated the step which Phraates soon afterwards took of 
allying himself by marriage with the Seleucida). He 
had formerly given his sister, Ehodogune, as a wife to 
Demetrius, 2 and the marriage had been fruitful, Ehodo- 
gune 1 laving borne Demetrius several children. 3 The 
two houses of the Seleucida and Arsacidie were thus 
already allied to some extent. Phraates resolved to 
strengthen the bond. The unmarried daughter of 
Demetrius whom he had captured after his victory over 
Antiochus took his fancy ; and he determined to make 
her his wife. 4 At the same time he adopted other 
measures calculated to conciliate the Seleucid prince. 
He treated his captive, Seleucus, the son of Antiochus, 
with the greatest respect. 5 To the corpse of Antiochus 
he paid royal honours ; G and, having placed it in a 
silver coffin, he transmitted it to the Syrians for 
sepulture. 7 

Still, if we may believe Justin, 8 he entertained the 
design of carrying his arms across the Euphrates and 
invading Syria, in order to avenge the attack of Antio- 

1 Justin, l.s.c. more fecit. 

See above, p. 0G. 

3 Justin, xxxviii. 9, § 8. 

4 Ibid, xxxviii. 10, § 10. 

5 Porphyr. ap. Euseb. C/iron. 
Can. i. 40 ?> § 18. * Seleucum Ar- 
saces captivum abduxit, regioque 
more custodiendum curavit.' I avTTJg kvijuvouv). 

Justin, l.s.c. 'Exsequias regio , 

7 Ibid, xxxix. 1, § 6. 

8 Ibid. xlii. 1, § 1. The state- 
ment is confirmed by Dicdorus 
(xxxiv. 18), who says that Phraates 
expected to make himself master of 
Syria with ease (t\~iZiov padiu)^ 



[Cn. VII. 

chus upon his territories. But events occurred which 
forced him to relinquish this enterprise. The Scythians, 
whom he had called to his aid under the pressure of the 
Syrian invasion, and who had arrived too late to take 
part iu the war, demanded the pay which they had 
been promised, and suggested that their arms should 
be employed against some other enemy. 1 Phraates 
was unwilling either to requite services not rendered, 
or to rush needlessly into a fresh war merely to gratify 
the avarice of his auxiliaries. He therefore peremp- 
torily refused to comply with either suggestion. Upon 
this, the Scythians determined to take their payment 
into their own hands, and began to ravage Parthia and 
to carry off a rich booty. Phraates, who had removed 
the head-quarters of his government to Babylonia, felt 
it necessary to entrust affairs there to an officer, and to 
take the field in person against this new enemy, which 
was certainly not less formidable than the Syrians. He 
selected for his representative at the seat of Empire a 
certain Himerus 2 (or Evemerus), 3 a youth with whom 
he had a disgraceful connection, and having established 
him as a sort of viceroy, 4 marched away to the north- 
east, and proceeded to encounter the Scythians in that 
remote region. Besides his native troops, he took with 
him a number of Greeks, whom he had made prisoners 
in his war with Antiochus/' Their fidelity could not 
but be doubtful ; probably, however, he thought that 
at a distance from Syria they would not dare to fail 
him, and that with an enemy so barbarous as the 

1 Justin, xlii. 1, § 2. 

2 Ibid. §3; Fosidon. Fr. 21. 
:! Piod. Sic. xxxiv. 21. 

4 Himerus is called ' king of the 
Parthians ' by Piodorus — an ex- 
pression which requires explana- 

tion rather than correction. Posi- 
donius speaks of him as rbv 
t vpavvi'in a vt a Ba/3tAu>vi(ui' (Fr. 
21). According to Justin (xlii. 2, 
§ .°»), he was Phraates' vkarhis. 
5 Justin, xlii. 1, § 4. 


Scythians they would have no temptation to fraternise. 
But the event proved him mistaken. The Greeks were 
sullen at their captivity, and exasperated by some cruel 
treatment which they had received when first captured. 
They bided their time ; and when, in a battle with the 
Scythians, they saw the Parthian soldiery hard pressed 
and in danger of defeat, they decided matters by going- 
over in a body to the enemy. The Parthian army was 
completely routed and destroyed, and Phraates himself 
was anions the slain. 1 We are not told what became of 
the victorious Greeks ; but it is to be presumed that, 
like the Ten Thousand, they fought their way across 
Asia, and rejoined their own countrymen. 

Tims died Phraates I., after a reign of about eight 
or nine years. 2 Though not possessing the talents of 
his father, he was a brave and warlike prince, active, 
enterprising, fertile in resources, and bent on maintain- 
ing against all assailants the honour and integrity of the 
Empire. In natural temperament he was probably 
at once soft 3 and cruel. 4 But, when policy required it, 
he could throw his softness aside and show himself a 
hardy and intrepid warrior. 5 Similarly, he could con- 
trol his natural harshness, and act upon occasion with 
clemency and leniency. 6 He was not, perhaps, without 

1 Ibid. § 5. j rum superbe crudeliterqite tracta- 

2 The accession of Phraates II. I verat,' Justin, xlii. 1, § 4) ; 2, in 
is fixed by various considerations ! his feelings towards the people of 
to about the year B.C. 136. His { Seleucia (aWorpiiog -n-pbg SeXfuiceTg 
death must have taken place in \ SinKiifitvog ml (ivrjcmcaKCbv, Diod. 
B.C. 128 or B.C. 127. j Sic. xxxiv. 19) ; and perhaps 3, in 

3 Indications of this are his rela- I his appointment of Himerus, whose 
tions with Himerus (supra, p. 108), severities he must have counte- 
and the rapidity with which he fell nanced or at least permitted. 

in love with Demetrius' daughter j r ° Note especially his winter 
(Justin, xxxviii. 10, § 10). j campaign against Antiochus (su- 

4 The natural cruelty of Phraates ! pra, p. 104). 

is shown, 1, in his treatment of his ! G As in his treatment of Deme- 
Greek captives (• exercitum Grreco- I trius after his two escapes, in his 


a grim humour, which led him to threaten more than 
he intended, in order to see how men would comport 
themselves when greatly alarmed. 1 There is some evi- 
dence that lie aimed at saying good things ; though it 
must be confessed that the wit is not of a high order. 2 
Altogether, he has more character than most Oriental 
monarchy ; and the monotony of Arsacid biography is 
agreeably interrupted by the idiosyncrasy which his 
words and conduct indicate. 

conduct towards Seleucus, Antio- I As it does not appear that Phraates 
chus' son, and (in a less degTee) j took any steps to carry out his 
in his treatment of Antiochus' I threat, it can scarcely have been 
body. j serious. 

1 This is the impression raised | 2 Besides the above story, there 
by the story which Diodorus tells | is an anecdote of Phraates told by 
about the Seleucenses. ' The j Posidonius, which deserves to be 
Seleucenses,' he says, ' understand- \ noticed. ' When Antiochus, who 
ing that Arsaces was angry with \ made war upon Arsaces/ he says, 
them, sent ambassadors to depre- j ' was dead, and the latter was occu- 
cate his wrath, and bade them be \ pying himself about his funeral, he 
sure to bring back an answer from exclaimed, " Oh, Antiochus, thy 
the king. So Arsaces took the am- • rashness and thy intemperance were 
bassadors to the place where Pit- thy ruin ; in thy mighty cups thou 
thides, a man whose eyes had been j thoughtest to swallow down the 
put out, was wont to sit, and said — j kingdom of the Arsacidie ! " 
u Tell the men of Seleucia that they , (Posid. Fr. 20.) 
all deserve the fate of Pitthides ! " ' 

Ch.' VIII.] 




Accession of Artabanus II. Position of Parthia. Growing pressure upon 
her, and general advance towards the south, of the Saka or Scyths. Causes 
and extent of the movement. Character and principal tribes of the Saka. 
Seythic war of Artabanus. His death, 

1 Imperium Asise [Scythre] tor qugesivero.' — Justin, ii. 3, § 1. 

The successor of Phraates was his uncle, Artabanus, 1 a 
son of Priapatins. It is probable that the late king 
had either left no son, or none of sufficient age to be a 
fit occupant of the throne at a season of difficulty. 
The c Megistanes,' therefore, elected Artabanus in his 
nephew's place, 2 a man of mature age, 3 and, probably, 
of some experience in war. The situation of Parthia, 
despite her recent triumph over the Syro-Macedo- 
nians, was critical ; and it was of the greatest im- 
portance that the sceptre should be committed to one 
who would bring to the discharge of his office those 
qualities of wisdom, promptness, and vigour, which a 
crisis demands. 

The difficulty of the situation was two-fold. In the 
first place, there was an immediate danger to be 
escaped. The combined Greeks and Scythians, who 
had defeated the Parthian army and slain the monarch, 
might have been expected to push their advantage to 

1 Justin, xlii. 2, § 1. 

2 Justin's phrase 

('In Lujua 
locum Artabanus, patruus ejus, rex 
substituitur ') implies their election, 
which, besides, we know to have 
been the regular course of procedure. 

(See above, p. 85.) 

3 As Priapatius died in or about 
B.C. 181, Artabanus could not in 
B.C. 127 be less than fifty-four 
years of age. 

112 THE SIXTH MONARCHY. [Cii. VI 11 . 

the utmost, and seek to establish themselves as con- 
querors in the country which lay apparently at their 
mercy. At any rate, the siege and sack of some of the 
chief towns was a probable contingency, if permanent 

occupation of the territory did not suit the views of the 
confederates. The new monarch had to rid Parthia of 
her invaders at as little cost as possible, before he 
could allow himself to turn his attention to any other 
matter whatsoever. Nor did this, under the circum- 
stances, appear to be an easy task. The flower of the 
Parthian troops had been destroyed in the late battle, 
and it was not easy to replace them by another native 
army. The subject-nations were at no time to be de- 
pended upon when Parthia was reduced to straits, and 
at the present conjuncture some of the most important 
were in a condition bordering upon rebellion. Himerus, 
the viceroy left by Phraates in Babylonia, had first 
driven the Babylonians and Seleucians to desperation 
by his tyranny, 1 and then plunged into a war with the 
people of Mesene, 2 which must have made it difficult 
for him to send Artabanus any contingent. Fortu- 
nately for the Parthians, the folly, or moderation, of 
their enemies rendered any great effort on their part 
unnecessary. The Greeks, content with having re- 
venged themselves, gave the new monarch no trouble 

1 The tyranny of this governor 
is witnessed to in a general way 1 >y 
Justin (xlii.l, § 3), and Positioning 
(Fr. 21). Some particulars of it are 

to slavery, and sent them with their 
families into Media to be publicly 
sold. lie burnt the market-place 
of Babylon, and several of the 

given by Diodorus. ' Evemerus,' teniples, destroying at the same 

he says, 'the Parthian king, was a 
Hyrcanian by race, and exceeded in 
cruelty all other tyrants on record. 
There was no form of punishment 
which lie omitted to use. On accu- 

time the finest portion of the city.' 
2 Trog. Pomp. Prolog, lib. xlii. 
1 TJt praefectus Parthia a Phraate 
Mesenis helium intulit.' Mesene 
was the tract between Babylonia 

sations of a trivial character he and the sea; it had probably not 
condemned many of the Babylonians yet been made subject to Parthia. 


at all : the Scythians were satisfied with plundering 
and wasting the open country, after which they re- 
turned quietly to their homes. 1 Artabanus found him- 
self quit of the immediate danger which had threatened 
him almost without exertion of his own, and could now 
bend his thoughts to the position of his country gene- 
rally, and the proper policy to pursue under the 

For there was a second and more formidable danger 
impending over the State— a danger not casual and 
temporary like the one just escaped, but arising out of 
a condition of things in neighbouring regions which 
had come about slowly, and which promised to be 
permanent. To give the reader the means of esti- 
mating this danger aright, it will be necessary to take 
a somewhat wide view of the state of affairs on the 
northern and north-eastern frontiers of Parthia for 
some time previously to the accession of Artabanus, to 
trace out the causes which were at work, producing 
important changes in these regions, and to indicate the 
results which threatened, and those which were accom- 
plished. The opportunity will also serve for giving 
such an account of the chief races which here bordered 
the empire, as will show the nature of the peril to 
which Parthia was exposed at this period. 

In the wide plains of Northern Asia, extending from 
the Arctic Ocean to the Thian Chan mountains and 
the Jaxartes, there had been nurtured from a remote 
antiquity a nomadic population, at no time very 
numerous in proportion to the area over which it was 
spread, but liable on occasions to accumulate, owing 
to a combination of circumstances, in this or that 

1 Justin, xlii. 2, § 1. ' Scythce I Parthia, in patriam revertuntur.' 
autem contenti victoria, depopulata | 



portion of the region occupied, and at such times 
causing trouble to its neighbours. From about the 
close of the third century B. a, symptoms of such an 
accumulation had begun to display themselves in the 
tract immediately north of the Jaxartes, and the in- 
habitants of the countries south of that river had suf- 
fered from a succession of raids and inroads, which 
were not regarded as dangerous, but which gave 
constant annoyance. Crossing the great desert of 
Kharesm by forced marches, some of the hordes in- 
vaded the green valleys of Hyrcania and Parthia, and 
carried desolation over those fair and flourishing dis- 
tricts. 1 About the same time other tribes entered 
the Bactrian territory and caused alarm to the Greek 
kingdom recently established in that province. 2 It 
appears that the Parthian monarchs, unable to save 
their country from incursions, consented to pay a sort 
of black mail to their invaders, by allowing them the 
use of their pasture grounds at certain fixed times — 
probably during some months of each year. 3 The 
Bactrian princes had to pay a heavier penalty. Pro- 
vince after province of their kingdom was swallowed 
up by the northern hordes, 4 who gradually occupied 
Sogdiana, or the tract between the lower Jaxartes and 
the lower Oxus, whence they proceeded to make 
inroads into Bactria itself. The rich land on the Poly- 

1 Strab. xi. 8, § 3. I Kararpex^iv Kai d/iptaOai \tiav. I 

2 That the pressure of the noma- i understand this as a pasture right 
die hordes on Bactria began as early ; similar to that claimed by the 
as the reimi of Euthydemus j Samnites in Campania (Arnold, 
(B.C. 220-200), appears from his Hist, of Rome, vol. ii. p. 108), onty 
representations to Antiochus (Po- enjoyed at a different time of the 
lyb. xi. 34, § 5). ! year. 

a Strab. l.s.c. Oi Si owkBevro I 4 Strab. xi. 8, § 2 and § 4 j 
(hnpovq- (bopoQ 8' i]\> to iinTp'c-nuv I Trog. Pomp. Prol. lib. xli. 
tciktoIq net xpo^ott; t))v x^pctv 


timetus, or Ak Su, the river of Samarkand, and even the 
highlands between the upper Jaxartes and upper Oxus, 
were permanently occupied by the invaders ; and if the 
Bactrians had not compensated themselves for their 
losses by acquisitions of territory in Afghanistan and 
India, they would soon have had no kingdom left. 
The hordes were always increasing in strength through 
the influx of fresh immigrants, and in lieu of Bactria 
a power now stood arrayed on the north-eastern fron- 
tier of the Parthians, which was reasonably regarded 
with the most serious alarm and suspicion. 

The origin of the state of things here described is to 
be sought, according to the best authorities, in certain 
movements which took place about b. c. 200, 1 in a 
remote region of inner Asia. At that time a Turanian 
people called the Yue-chi were expelled from their terri- 
tory on the west of Chen-si by the Hiong-nu, whom 
some identify with the Huns. ' The Yue-chi separated 
into two bands : the smaller descended southwards 
into Thibet; the larger passed westwards, and after 
a hard struggle dispossessed a people called " Su " of 
the plains west of the river of Hi. These latter 
advanced to Ferghana and the Jaxartes ; and the 
Yue-chi not long afterwards retreating from the U-siun, 
another nomadic race, passed the " Su " on the north 
and occupied the tracts between the Oxus and the 
Caspian. The Su were thus in the vicinity of the 
Bactrian Greeks ; the Yue-chi in the neighbourhood of 
the Parthians.' 2 On the particulars of this account, 

1 This is the elate given. (See 
Wilson, Ariana Ant. p. 803.) It 
does not pretend to exactness ; and 
we may perhaps conclude from the 
words of Euthydemua (see above, 

p. 114, note 2), which were spoken 
B.C. 205, that the movement com- 
menced seven or eight years earlier. 

2 Wilson, l.s.c. 



[Ch. VIII. 

which comes from the Chinese historians, we cannot 
perhaps altogether depend ; but there is no reason to 
doubt the main fact, attested by a writer who visited 
the Yue-chi in B. c. 139, 1 that they had migrated 
about the period mentioned from the interior of Asia, 
and had established themselves sixty years later in the 
Caspian region. Such a movement would necessarily 
have thrown the entire previous population of those 
parts into commotion, and would probably have pre- 
cipitated them upon their neighbours. It accounts 
satisfactorily for the pressure of the northern hordes 
at this period on the Parthians, Bactrians, and even 
the Indians ; and it completely explains the crisis in 
Parthian history, which we have now reached, and the 
necessity which lay upon the nation of meeting, and, 
if possible, overcoming, an entirely new danger. 

In fact, one of those occasions of peril had arisen, 
to which in ancient times the civilised world was 
always liable from an outburst of northern barbarism. 
Whether the peril has altogether passed away or not, 
we need not here inquire ; but certainly in the old 
world there was always a chance that civilisation, art, 
refinement, luxury, might suddenly and almost without 
warning be swept away by an overwhelming influx of 
savage hordes from the unpolished North. From the 
reign of Cyaxares, when the evil first showed itself, 2 the 

1 The Chinese authority for the 
history of this migration is a 
certain Chang-kian, who was sent on 
a mission from China to the Yue- 
chi in B.C. 139, and returned to his 
native country in B.C. 12G. 

2 The great Scythian invasion 
in the reign of Cyaxares (ab. 
B.C. C30) is a well-attested fact of 
history. (See Herod, i. 103-5 ; iv. 

1 ; Strab. i. 3, § 21 ; xi. 8, § 4 ; 
Euseb. Citron. Can. ii. p. 227 ; 
Oros. i. 19; Syncell. p. 214, Cj 
&c.) It is the first invasion of the 
kind that can be regarded as certain, 
Justin's story of a Scythic conquest 
of Asia in the time of Sesostris 
(ii. 3, § 15 ; cf. Strab. xv. 1, § 6) 
being probably apocryphal. 


danger was patent to all wise and far-seeing governors 
both in Europe and Asia, and was from time to time 
guarded against. The expeditions of Cyrus against the 
Massagetae, of Darius Hystaspis against the European 
Scyths, of Alexander against the Geta3, of Trajan and 
Probus across the Danube, were designed to check and 
intimidate the northern nations, to break their power, 
and diminish the likelihood of their taking the offensive. 
It was now more than four centuries since in this part of 
Asia any such effort had been made ; * and the northern 
barbarians might naturally have ceased to fear the arms 
and discipline of the South. Moreover the circum- 
stances of the time scarcely left them a choice. Pressed 
on continually more and more by the newly-arrived 
Su and Yue-chi, the old inhabitants of the Transoxi- 
anian regions were under the necessity of seeking new 
settlements, and could only attempt to find them in 
the quarter towards which they were driven by the 
new-comers. Strengthened, probably, by daring spirits 
from among their conquerors themselves, 2 they crossed 
the rivers and the deserts by which they had been 
hitherto confined, and advancing against the Parthians, 
Bactrians, and Arians, threatened to carry all before 
them. We have seen how successful they were against 
the Bactrians. 3 In Ariana, they passed the mountains, 
and, proceeding southwards, occupied the tract below 
the great lake wherein the Helmend terminates, which 
took from them the name of Sacastane 4 (' land of the 

1 The attack made by Cyrus on 
the Massagetae belongs to the year 
B.C. 559. 

2 The Chinese regard the con- 
quests as made by the Su and the 

Yue-chi. In migratory movements, \ bably to the Augustan age. 
the expelled people are constantly 

led by individuals of the race that 
has expelled them. 

3 See above, p. 115. 

4 This name is first found in Isi- 
dore of Charax, who belongs pro- 



[Ch. YIII. 

Saka,' or Scyths) — a name still to be traced in the 
modern ' Seistan.' Further to the east, they effected a 
lodgment in Kabul, and another in the southern portion 
of the Indus valley, which for a time bore the name of 
Indo-Scythia. 1 They even crossed the Indus and at- 
tempted to penetrate into the interior of India, but 
here they were met and repulsed by a native monarch, 
about the year B.C. 56. 2 

The people engaged in this great movement are 

called, in a general way, by the classical writers, Saea3, 

or Scythse — i.e., Scyths. They consisted of a number 

of tribes, similar for the most part in language, habits, 

and mode of life, and allied more or less closely to the 

other nomadic races of Central and Northern Asia. 

Of these tribes the principal were the Massagetse 

(' great Jits, or Jats '), who occupied the country on both 

sides of the lower course of the Oxus ; 3 the Daha3, who 

bordered the Caspian above Hyrcania, and extended 

thence to the latitude of Herat ; 4 the Tochari, 5 who 

settled in the mountains between the upper Jaxartes 

and the upper Oxus, where they gave name to the 

tract known as Tokharestan ; the Asii, or Asiani, who 

were closely connected with the Tochari ; 6 and the 

Sakarauli (Sarauca3 ?), who are found connected with 

both the Tochari and the Asiani. 7 Some of these tribes 

contained within them further sub-divisions ; e.g. the 

Dahas, who comprised the Parni (or Aparni), the Pissuri, 

and the Xanthii ; 8 and the Massagetaa, who included 

among them Chorasmii, Attasii, and others. 9 

1 Wilson, Ariana Antiqua, pp. 
302, 305, 347, &c. 

2 Ibid. p. 302. 

3 Strab. xi. 8, § 8. 

4 Ibid. § 2. 

5 See Trog\ Pomp. Prol. lib. xlii. ; 
Justin, xlii. 2, § 2 ; Strab. l.s.c. ; 
Dionys. Perieg. 752. 

6 Trogus said that the Asiani at 
one time furnished kings to the 
Tochari. (Prol. lib. xlii. ad Jin.) 

7 Strab. l.s.c. ; Trog. Pomp. Prol. 
lib. xli. 

8 Strab. l.s.c. 

9 Ibid. xi. 8, § 8. 


The general el in meter of the barbarism, in which 
these various races were involved, may be best learnt 
from the description given of one of them, the Massagetse, 
with but few differences, by Herodotus * and Strabo. 2 
According to this description, the Massagetse were 
nomads, who moved about in wagons or carts, accom- 
panied by their flocks and herds, on whose milk they 
chiefly sustained themselves. Each man had only one 
wife, but all the wives were held in common. They 
were good riders and excellent archers, but fought both 
on horseback and on foot, and used, besides their bows 
and arrows, lances, knives, and battle-axes. They had 
little or no iron, but made their spear and arrow-heads, 
and their other weapons, of bronze. They had also 
bronze breast-plates ; but otherwise the metal with 
which they adorned and protected their own persons, and 
the heads of their horses, was gold. To a certain 
extent they were cannibals. 3 It was their custom not 
to let the aged among them die a natural death, but, 
when life seemed approaching its natural term, to offer 
them up in sacrifice, and then boil the flesh and feast 
on it. This mode of ending life was regarded as the 
best and most honourable ; such as died of disease were 
not eaten but buried, and their friends bewailed their 

It may be added to this, that we have sufficient 
reason to believe that the Massagetse and the other 
nomads of these parts regarded the use of poisoned 
arrows as legitimate in warfare, and employed the 
venom of serpents, and the corrupted blood of 

1 Herod, i. 215, 216. j from Pliny, who notes the same 

2 Strab. xi. 8, §^6. j feature in the Tochari (' Tochari 

3 That the Massagetse were not ... humanis corporibus vescuntur.' 
the only cannibals among the no- II. N. vi. 17.) 

madic hordes of these parts, appears 


man, to make the wounds which they inflicted more 
deadly. 1 

Thus, what was threatened was not merely the con- 
quest of one race by another cognate to it, like that of 
the Medes by the Persians, or of the Greeks by Borne, 
but the obliteration of such art, civilisation, and refine- 
ment as Western Asia had attained to in course of ages 
by the successive efforts of Babylonians, Assyrians, 
Medes, Persians, and Greeks — the spread over some of 
the fairest regions of the earth of a low type of savagery 
— a type which in religion went no further than the 
worship of the sun ; 2 in art knew but the easier forms 
of metallurgy and the construction of carts ; in man- 
ners and customs, included cannibalism, the use of 
poisoned weapons, and a relation between the sexes 
destructive alike of all delicacy and of all family affec- 
tion. The Parthians were, no doubt, rude and coarse 
in their character as compared with the Persians ; but 
they had been civilised to a certain extent by three 
centuries of subjection to the Persians and the Greco- 
Macedonians before they rose to power ; they affected 
Persian manners ; they patronized Greek art, they 
appreciated the advantages of having in their midst a 
number of Greek states. Had the Massagetse and their 
kindred tribes of Sakas, Tochari, Dahge, Yue-chi, and 
Su, which now menaced the Parthian power, succeeded 
in sweeping it away, the general declension of all which 
is lovely or excellent in human life would have been 
marked. Scythicism would have overspread Western 
Asia. No doubt the conquerors would have learned 
something from those whom they subjected ; but it 
cannot be supposed that they would have learned much. 

1 See Plin. //. K. xi. 53. I i/Xioi- o'ffSoirai. Strabo repeats the 

2 Herod, i. 216. Qtfiv povvov statement (1. s. c.) 


The change would have been like that which passed 
over the Empire of the West, when Goths, Vandals, 
Burgundians, Alans, Ilernli, depopulated its fairest pro- 
vinces and laid its civilisation in the dust. The East 
would have been barbarised ; the gains of centuries 
would have been lost ; the work of Cyrus, Darius, 
Alexander, and other great benefactors of Asiatic 
humanity have been undone ; Western Asia would 
have sunk back into a condition not very much above 
that from which it was raised two thousand years earlier 
by the primitive Chaldieans and the Assyrians. 

Artabanus II., the Parthian monarch who succeeded 
Phraates II., appears to have appreciated aright the 
perils of his position. He was not content, when the 
particular body of barbarians which had defeated and 
slain his predecessor, having ravaged Parthia Proper, 
returned home, to fold his arms and wait until he was 
again attacked. According to the brief, but expressive 
words of Justin, 1 he assumed the aggressive, and in- 
vaded the country of the Tochari, one of the most 
powerful of the Scythic tribes, which was now settled 
iii a portion of the region that had, till lately, belonged 
to the Bactrian kingdom. 2 Artabanus evidently felt 
that what was needed was to roll back the flood of in- 
vasion, which had advanced so near to the sacred home 
of his nation ; that the barbarians required to be taught 
a lesson ; that they must at least be made to under- 
stand that Parthia was to be respected ; or that, if this 
could not be done, the fate of the Empire was sealed. 
He therefore, with a gallantry and boldness that we 
cannot sufficiently admire — a boldness that seemed like 

1 'Bello Tocliaris^ illato' (Hist [ 2 See above, p. 115. 
Phil. xlii. 2, § 2). 


rashness, but was in reality prudence, without calculating 
too closely the immediate chances of battle, led his 
troops against one of the most forward of the advancing 
tribes. But fortune, unhappily, was adverse. How 
the battle was progressing we are not told ; but it 
appears that in the thick of an engagement, Artabanus 
received a wound in the fore-arm, from the effects of 
which he died almost immediately. 1 The death of the 
leader decides in the East, almost to a certainty, the 
issue of a contest. We cannot doubt that the Parthians, 
having lost their monarch, were repulsed ; that the 
expedition failed; and that the situation of affairs 
became once more at least as threatening as it had been 
before Artabanus made his attempt. Two Parthian 
monarch s had now fallen within the space of a few 
years in combat with the aggressive Scyths — two Par- 
thian armies had suffered defeat. Was this to be 
always so ? If it was, then Parthia had only to make 
up her mind to fall, and, like the great Eoman, to let 
it be her care that she should fall grandly and with 

1 ' In brachio vulneratus, statim '• painful suspicion that the weapon 
decedit.' (Justin, 1. s. c.) The im- which dealt the wound had been 
■mediate death consequent upon a j poisoned. (See above, p. 120, note 
wound in the forearm raises a j 1.) 

Cn. IX.] 




Accession of Mifltridates II. Termination of the Scythic Wars. Com- 
mencement of the struggle with Armenia. Previous history of Armenia. 
Pesult of the first Armenian War. First contact of Rome loith Parthia. 
Attitude of Pome towards the Past at this time. Second Armenian War. 
Death of Mitkridates. 

' Mithridati res gestae Magni cognomen dedere.' — Justin, xlii. 2, § 3. 

Ox the death of Artaoanus II., about B.C. 124, his son, 
Mithri dates II., was proclaimed king. Of this monarch, 
whose achievements (according to Justin 1 ) procured him 
the epithet of ' the Great,' the accounts which have 
come down to us are extremely scanty and unsatis- 
factory. Justin, who is our principal informant on the 
subject of the early Parthian history, has unfortunately 
confounded him with the third monarch of the name, 2 
who ascended the throne more than sixty years later, 
and lias left us only the slightest and most meagre out- 
line of his actions. The other classical writers, only to 
a very small extent, supplement Justin's narrative ; and 
the result is that of a rei<m which was one of the most 
important in the early Parthian series, the historical 
inquirer at the present day can form but a most incom- 
plete conception. 

It appears, however, from the account of Justin, and 
from such other notices as have reached us of the con- 

1 See the passage quoted at the 
head of the chapter. Compare 
Trog. Pomp. Prol. lib. xlii. 

2 Justin, xlii. 4, § 1. That Tro- 
gus did not make the mistake 

appears from the Prologue to book 
xlii., where we are told that he 
placed several kings between Mi- 
thridates II. and Orodes. 


dition of things at this time in the regions lying east of 
the Caspian, that Mithridates was entirely successful 
where his lather and his cousin had signally failed. He 
gained a number of victories over the Scythic hordes ; l 
and effectually checked their direct progress towards 
the south, throwing them thereby upon the east and the 
south-east. Danger to Parthia from the Scyths seems 
after his reign to have passed away. They found a 
vent for their superabundant population in Seistan, 
Afghanistan, and India, and ceased to have any hopes 
of making an impression on the Arsacid kingdom. 
Mithridates, it is probable, even took territory from 
them. The acquisition of parts of Bactria by the 
Parthian sfrom the Scyths, which is attested by Strabo, 2 
belongs, in all likelihood, to his reign ; and the exten- 
sion of the Parthian dominion to Seistan 3 may well 
date from the same period. Justin tells us that he added 
many nations to the Parthian Empire. 4 The statements 
made of the extent of Parthia on the side of Syria in 
the time of Mithridates the First render it impossible 
for us to discover these nations in the west : we are, 
therefore, compelled to regard them as consisting of 
races on the eastern frontier, who could at this period 
only be outlying tribes of the recent Scythic im- 

The victories of Mithridates in the East encouraged 
him to turn his arms in the opposite direction, and to 
make an attack on the important country of Armenia, 
which bordered his north-western frontier. Armenia 
was at the time under the government of a certain 

1 ( Cum Scythis prospere aliquo- j (3ianaixEvoi rovg SicvGac. 

ties dimicavit, ultorque mjurise pa- ' 3 Isid. Char. Mans. Parth. § 18. 
rentum fuit.' (Justin, xlii. 2, § 5.) I 4 * Multos populos Parthico regno 

2 Strab. xi. 9, § 2. 'AtpeiXovro | addidit.' (xlii. 2, § 4.) 
ri/c; BciKTpiavrJi; uiooi; [u't TIupBviuoi^ ( 


Ortoadistus, 1 who seems to have been the predeeessor, 
and was perhaps the father, of the great Tigranes. 2 Ortoa- 
distus ruled the tract called by the Romans ' Armenia 
Magna,' which extended from the Euphrates on the 
west to the mouth of the Araxes on the east, and from 
the valley of the Km* northwards to Mount Niphates 
and the head streams of the Tigris towards the south. 
The people over which he ruled was one of the oldest 
in Asia, and had on many occasions shown itself im- 
patient of a conqueror. Justin, on reaching this point 
in his work, observes that he could not feel himself 
justified if, when his subject brought before him so 
mighty a kingdom, he did not enter at some length on 
its previous history. 3 The modern historian would be 
even less excusable than Justin if he omitted such a 
review, since, while he has less right to assume a 
knowledge of early Armenian history on the part of his 
readers, he has greater means of gratifying their 
curiosity, owing to the recent discovery of sources of 
information unknown to the ancients. 

Armenia first comes before us in Genesis, where it is 
mentioned as the country on whose mountains the ark 
rested. 4 A recollection of it was thenceforth retained 
in the semi-mythic traditions of the Babylonians. 5 
According to some, 6 the Egyptian monarchs of the 

1 Justin, xlii. 2, § G. Some of I etymologically quite distinct from 
the MSS. have ' Arthoadisti,' Armenia, but which designates the 
others ' Artadisti.' It may be sus- | same country. 

pected that the true reading is ! 5 See Beros. Fr. 7, § 6. 

4 Artavasdis.' 6 Lenormant, Manuel iVIIistoire 

2 Appian makes Tigranes the son Antique tie V Orient, vol. i. pp. 379, 
of a Tigranes {Syr. p. 118, D) ; but 385, &c. The conclusion is based 
his authority is not very great. ! on the etymological identity of a 
Moses of Chorene calls his father ; word read as Lemanen or Remanen 
Ardashes. ! with Armina (Old Pers.) or Ar- 

:; Justin, xlii. 2, §§ 7, 8. : menia. The etymology is, of course, 

4 Gei!. viii. 4. The geographical ' quite possible ; but it is against the 

term used is Ararat; L3VIN, which is identification that the word Armina 


eighteenth and nineteenth dynasties carried their arms 
into its remote valleys, and exacted tribute from the 
petty chiefs who then ruled there. At any rate, it is 
certain that from about the ninth century B.C. it was 
well known to the Assyrians, who were engaged from 
that time till about B.C. 640 in almost constant wars 
with its inhabitants. 1 At this period three principal 
races inhabited the country — the Nairi, who were 
spread from the mountains west of Lake Van along both 
sides of the Tigris to Bir on the Euphrates, and even 
further ; the Urarda (Alarodii, or people of Ararat), 
who dwelt north and east of the Nairi, on the upper 
Euphrates, about the lake of Van, and probably on the 
Araxes ; and the Minni, whose country lay south-east 
of the Urarda, in the Urumiyeh basin and the adjoin- 
ing parts of Zagros. Of these three races, the Urarda 
were the most powerful, and it was with them that the 
Assyrians waged their most bloody wars. The capital 
city of the Urarda was Van, on the eastern shores of 
the lake ; and here it was that their kings set up the 
most remarkable of their inscriptions. Six monarchs, 
who apparently all belong to one dynasty, left inscrip- 
tions in this locality commemorative of their military 
expeditions or of their offerings to the gods. 2 The later 
names of the series can be identified with those of 
kings who contended with Assyrian monarchs belong- 
ing to the last, or Sargonid, dynasty ; 3 and hence we 
are entitled approximately to fix the series to the 

seems not to have been known in j Babylon, pp. 394-403. They have 
the country till the time3 of the i been published by Schulz. 
Medo-Persians. 3 Arghistis contended with Sar- 

1 See Ancient Monarchies, vol. ii. j gon, ab. B.C. 720-700, and the 
pp. 101, 112, 150, 210, &c. (2nd I second Bilat-Duri (Milidduris of 
edit.) • Layard) with Asshur-bani-pal, ab. 

2 For an account of these inscrip- ; B.C. G40. 
tions, see Layard, Nineveh and j 

Oh. IX.] 



seventh and eighth centuries before our era. The 
Urarda must at this time have exercised a dominion 
over almost the whole of the region to which the name 
of Armenia commonly attaches. 1 They were worthy 
antagonists of the Assyrians, and, though occasionally 
worsted in light, maintained their independence, at any 
rate, till the time of Asshur-bani-pal (about B.C. G40), 
when the last king of the Van scries, whose name is 
read as Bilat-duri, succumbed to the Assyrian power, 
and consented to pay a tribute for his dominions. 2 

There is reason to believe, that between the time 
when we obtain this view of the primitive Armenian 
peoples and that at which we next have any exact 
knowledge of the condition of the country — the time of 
the Persian monarchy — a great revolution had taken 
place in the region. The Nairi, Urarda, and Minni 
were Turanian, or, at any rate, non-Arian, races. 3 
Their congeners in Western Asia were the early Baby- 
lonians and the Susianians, not the Medes, the Persians, 
or the Phrygians. But by the time of Herodotus the 
Arian character of the Armenians had become estab- 
lished. Their close connection with the Phrygians 
was recognised. 4 They had changed their national 
appellation ; for while in the Assyrian period the terms 
Nairi and Urarda had preponderated, under the Per- 
sians they had come to be called Armenians and their 
country Armenia. 5 The personal names of individuals 

1 They style themselves 'kings 
of the Nairi,' and relate their suc- 
cessful expeditions into the Minni 
country. Their inscriptions at Ma- 
latiyeb, Palu, and in the Miyandab, 
south of Lake Uruiniyeh, indicate 
the extent of their sway. 

2 Ancient Monarchies, vol. ii. p. 
210, 2nd edit. 

3 Sir H. Eawlinson in the 
author's Herodotus, vol. iv. p. 206, 
2nd edit. 

4 Herod, vii. 73. 

5 See the Belt. Ins. col. i. par. 6; 
col. ii. par. 7, &c. The term 
'Apufvioi seems to have been first 
introduced into Greece by Heca- 
taeus (Fr. 195). 

128 Tin-: sixth monarchy. [Cn. ix. 

in the country, both men and women, had acquired a 
decidedly Arian cast. 1 Everything seems to indicate 
that a strange people had immigrated into the land, 
bringing with them a new language, new manners and 


customs, and a new religious system. 2 From what 
quarter they had come, whether from Phrygia, as 
Herodotus and Stephen 3 believed, or, as we should 
gather from their language and religion, from Media, is 
perhaps doubtful ; but it seems certain that from one 
quarter or another Armenia had been Arianised ; the 
old Turanian character had passed away from it ; im- 
migrants had nocked in, and a new people had been 
formed — the real Armenians of later times, and indeed 
of the present day — by the admixture of ruling Arian 
tribes with a primitive Turanian population, the de- 
scendants of the old inhabitants. 

The new race, thus formed,, though perhaps not less 
brave and warlike than the old, was less bent on main- 
taining its independence. Moses of Chorene, the 
Armenian historian, admits that from the time of the 
Median preponderance in Western Asia, the Armenians 
held under them a subject position. 4 That such was 

1 In the Beliistun Inscription we (=Aryandes), and Zaiia ; and from 

have three Armenian names, Da- Xenophon, Sabaris ( = Sy bares), 

darshish, Arakha, and Handita. Of these, Tigranes, Aryandes, and 
Of these Dadarshish is manifestly j Sybares are well-known Persian 

Arian, being a reduplicated form names; Tigrania is a feminine form 

from (Harsh, i to dare.' Arakha has of Tigranes (compare ltoxane) ; 

the root Ar (= any a, ' noble ') Zaria is from zara, ' gold/ and 

with the Scythic termination am would mean ' golden-haired.' Com- 

suffixed to it. Handita has the pare the Greek Chryse and Chry sis. 

same participial ending as Khsha- 2 The later Armenian religion 

thrita (Xathritis), Arshita (Ar- was like the Persian (Strab. xi. 14, 

sites), and the like, but its etymo- § 16). The religion of the Urarda 

logy is otherwise obscure. To was entirely different, 

these undoubted Armenian names 3 Steph. Byz. ad voc. 'Apptvia. 

we may add from Moses of Cho- 4 Hist, Armen. i. 21. 
rene Tigranes, Tigrania, Eryandus 


their position under the Persians is abundantly evident ; 1 
and, so far as appears, there was only one occasion 
during the entire Achflemenian period (b.c. 559 to B.C. 
ool) when they exhibited any impatience of the Persian 
yoke, or made any attempt to free themselves from it. 
In the early portion of the reign of Darius Hystaspis 
they took part in a revolt raised by a Mede called 
Phraortes, and were not reduced to obedience without 
some difficulty. 2 But from henceforth their fidelity to 
the Achsemenian Kings was unbroken ; they paid their 
tribute (apparently) without reluctance, 3 and furnished 
contingents of troops to the Persian armies when 
called upon. 4 After Arbela, they submitted without 
a struggle to Alexander; 5 and when in the division 
of his dominions, which followed upon the battle 
of Ipsus, they fell naturally to Seleucus, they ac- 
quiesced in the arrangement. 6 It was not until 
Antiochus the Great suffered his great defeat at 
the hands of the Eomans (b.c. 190) that Armenia 
bestirred itself, and, after probably four and a half 
centuries of subjection, became once more an indepen- 
dent power. Even then the movement seems to have 
originated rather in the ambition of a chief than in a 
desire for liberty on the part of the people. Artaxias 
had been governor of the Greater Armenia under Anti- 
ochus, 7 and seized the opportunity afforded by the 
battle of Magnesia to change his title of satrap into that 
of sovereign. No war followed. Antiochus was too 

1 Behist. Ins. col. i. par. 6; 
Herod, iii. 93 ; Xen. An. iv. 3, § 4; 
4, § 4 ; Arrian, Exp. Alex. iii. 8. 

2 Beh. Inscr. col. ii. par. 2-13. 

3 Strab. xi. 14, § 9. 'O aarpcnrrjg 
rtjg Appeviag t<£ Ukprry kot' trog 



4 Herod, vii. 73 ; Arrian, 1. s. c. 

5 Arrian, iii. 16. 

G Strab. xi. 14, § 15. 

7 Ibid. ""Hpx'iv ovToi ['ApraZiag 
Tf teal ZapiaSpig] tov (3aai\eojg t7rt- 




[Cn. IX. 

much weakened by his reverses to make any attempt 
to reduce Artaxias or recover Armenia ; and the nation 
obtained autonomy without having to undergo the 
usual ordeal of a bloody struggle. When at the expi- 
ration of five-and-twenty years Epiphanes, the son of 
Antiochus the Great, determined on an effort to recon- 
quer the lost province, no very stubborn resistance was 
offered to him. Artaxias was defeated and made pri- 
soner in the very first year of the war (b.c. 165), and 
Armenia seems to have passed again under the sway of 
the Seleucidas. 1 

It would seem that matters remained in this state 
for the space of about fifteen or sixteen years. When, 
however, Mithridates I. (Arsaces VI.), about B.C. 150, 
had overrun the eastern provinces of Syria, and made 
himself master in succession of Media, Elymais, and 
Babylonia, the revolutionary movement excited by 
his successes reached Armenia, and the standard of 
independence was once more raised in that country. 
According to the Armenian historians, 2 an Arsacid 
prince, Wagharshag or Valarsaces, was established as 
sovereign by the influence of the Parthian monarch, 
but was allowed to rule independently. A reign of 
twenty-two years is assigned to this prince, whose 
kingdom is declared to have reached from the Caucasus 
to Nisibis, and from the Caspian to the Mediterranean. 3 
He was succeeded by his son, Arshag (Arsaces), who 
reigned thirteen years, and was, like his father, active 
and warlike, contending chiefly with the people of 
Pontus. 4 At his death the crown descended to his son, 
Ardashes, 5 who is probably the Ortoadistus of Justin. 6 

Such were the antecedents of Armenia when Mithri- 


1 Appian, Sj/riaca, p. 117, B. 

2 See Mos. Chor. Hist. Arm. ii. 

Ibid. chs. 4-7. 

4 Ibid. ch. 8. 

5 Ibid. ch. 9, 


6 Ardashes is made by Moses the 
father and predecessor of Tigranes, 


dates II., having given an effectual check to the pro- 
gress of the Scythians in the east, determined to direct 
his arms towards the west, and to attack the dominions 
of his relative, the third of the Armenian Arsacidae. 
Of the circumstances of this war, and its results, we 
have scarcely any knowledge. Justin, who alone 
distinctly mentions it, gives us no details. A notice, 
however, in Strabo, which must refer to about this 
time, is thought to indicate with sufficient clearness 
the result of the struggle, which seems to have been 
unfavourable to the Armenians. Strabo says that 
Tigranes, before his accession to the throne, was for a 
time a hostage among the Parthians. 1 As hostages 
are only given by the vanquished party, we may 
assume that Ortoadistus (Ardashes) found himself 
unable to offer an effectual resistance to the Parthian 
king, and consented after a while to a disadvantageous 
peace, for his observance of which hostages were 
required by the victor. 

It cannot have been more than a few years after the 
termination of this war, which must have taken place 
towards the close of the second, or soon after the 
beginning of the first century, 2 that Parthia was for 
the first time brought into contact with Eome. 

The Great Eepublic, which after her complete victory 
over Antiochus III., B.C. 190, had declined to take 

and is given a reign of twenty-five 
years. (Compare ii. 10, § 1 with 
ii. 13, § 1.) This would bring his 
accession to B.C. 121, and would 
make the expedition of Mithridates 
II. ^ab. B.C. 100) certainly fall in 
his time. 

1 Strab. xi. 14, § 15. Kar' apxag 
fxkv wjxiiptvot TTupa HdpQoig. Com- 

pare Justin, xxxviii. 3, § 1. 

2 As Tigranes lived to B.C. 55, 
and was eighty-five at his death 
(Lucian, Macr. § 15), he must 
have been born B.C. 140; in which 
case he can scarcely have been 
given as a hostage till B.C. 120. His 
accession to the throne is generally 
placed b.c. 96. 



[Ch. IX. 

possession of a single foot of ground in Asia, regarding 
the general state of affairs as not then ripe for an 
advance of Terminus in that quarter, had now for 
some time seen reason to alter its policy, and to aim 
at adding to its European an extensive Asiatic do- 
minion. Macedonia and Greece having been absorbed, 
and Carthage destroyed (b.c. 148-146), the conditions 
of the political problem seemed to be so far changed 
as to render a further advance towards the east a safe 
measure ; and accordingly, when it was seen that the 
line of the kings of Pergamus was coming to an end, 
the Senate set on foot intrigues which had for their 
object the devolution upon Eome of the sovereignty 
belonging to those monarchs. By clever management 
the third Attalus was induced, in repayment of his 
father's obligations to the Eomans, 1 to bequeath his 
entire dominions as a legacy to the Eepublic. In vain 
did his illegitimate half-brother, Aristonicus, dispute 
the validity of so extraordinary a testament ; the 
Eomans, aided by Mithridates IV., then monarch of 
Pontus, easily triumphed over such resistance as this 
unfortunate prince could offer, 2 and having ceded to 
their ally the portion of Phrygia which had belonged 
to the Pergamene kingdom, 3 entered on the possession 
of the remainder. Having thus become an Asiatic 
power, the Great Eepublic was of necessity mixed up 
henceforth with the various movements and struggles 
which agitated Western Asia, and was naturally led to 
strengthen its position among the Asiatic kingdoms 

1 The chief use which Rome 
made of her victory at Magnesia 
was to augment the territory of her 
ally, Eumenes of Pergamus, whose 
dominions she more than doubled 
on the occasion. (See Niebuhr, 

Lectures on Ancient Histortj, vol. 
iii. p. 403, E. T.) 

2 Justin, xxx vi. 4, §§ 6-9; Veil. 

Paterc. ii. 4, &c. 

3 Justin, xxxvii. 1, § 2. 


by such alliances as seemed at each conjuncture best 
fitted for its interests. 

Hitherto no occasion had arisen for any direct 
dealings between Eome and Parthia. Their respective 
territories were still separated by considerable tracts, 
which were in the occupation of the Syrians, the 
Cappadocians, and the Armenians. Their interests 
had neither clashed, nor as yet sufficiently united them 
to give rise to any diplomatic intercourse. But the 
progress of the two Empires in opposite directions was 
continually bringing them nearer to each other ; and 
events had now reached a point at which the Empires 
began to have (or to seem to have) such a community 
of interests as led naturally to an exchange of com- 
munications. A great power had been recently de- 
veloped in these parts. In the rapid way so common 
in the East, Mithridates V., of Pontus, the son and 
successor of Bome's ally, had, between B.C. 112 and 
B.C. 93, built up an Empire of vast extent, numerous 
population, and almost inexhaustible resources. He 
had established his authority over Armenia Minor, 
Colchis, the entire east coast of the Black Sea, the 
Chersonesus Taurica, or kingdom of the Bosporus, 
and even over the whole tract lying west of the 
Chersonese as far as the mouth of the Tyras, or 
Dniester. 1 Nor had these gains contented him. He 
had obtained half of Paphlagonia by an iniquitous 
compact with Nicomedes, King of Bithynia ; he had 
occupied Galatia ; and he was engaged in attempts to 
bring Cappadocia under his influence. In this last- 
named project he was assisted by the Armenians, with 
whose king, Tigranes, he had (about B.C. 96) formed 
a close alliance, at the same time giving him his 

1 Meronou, Fr. 30 ; Justiu, xxxvii. 3 ; Strab. vii. 4, § 3, &c. 



[Cn. IX. 

daughter, Cleopatra, in marriage. 1 Eome, though she 
had not yet determined on war with Mithridates, was 
resolved to thwart his Cappadocian projects, and in 
B.C. 92 sent Sulla into Asia with orders to put down 
the puppet whom Mithridates and Tigranes were 
establishing, and to replace upon the Cappadocian 
throne a certain Ariobarzanes, whom they had driven 
from his kingdom. 2 In the execution of this com- 
mission, Sulla was brought into hostile collision with 
the Armenians, whom he defeated with great slaughter, 
and drove from Cappadocia together with their puppet . 
king. 3 Thus, not only did the growing power of 
Mithridates of Pontus, by inspiring Eome and Parthia 
with a common fear, tend to draw them together, 
but the course of events had actually given them 
a common enemy in Tigranes of Armenia, who was 
equally obnoxious to both. 

For Tigranes, who, during the time that he was 
a hostage in Parthia, had contracted engagements 
towards the Parthian monarch which involved a 
cession of territory, and who in consequence of his 
promises had been aided by the Parthians in seating 
himself on his father's throne, 4 though he made the 
cession required of him in the first instance, had soon 
afterwards repented of his good faith, had gone to 
war with his benefactors, recovered the ceded territory, 
and laid waste a considerable tract of country lying 
within the admitted limits of the Parthian kingdom. 5 

1 Appian, Mithridat. p. 180, C 
Plut. Lucull. § 14; Justin, xxxviii. 
3, § 2 ; Memnon, Fr. 43, § 2. 

2 Plut. Sull. § 5 ; Liv. Epit. lxx. 

3 Plut. 1.8. C. n\tiovag ' Apptvtojv 
7rpol3oTj9ovvrag airoKTtivaQ, Topfiiov 
fiiv lKi)\a(Ttv, 'Apto(3apZdvr]v d' cnr't- 
dtiti fianikka.- 

4 Strab. xi. 14, § 15; Justin, 

xxxviii. 3, § 1. 

5 Strab. 1. s. c. The district ra- 
vaged was that about Nineveh and 

Arbela (J:7r6pGr}(7t rr\v re 7repi NtVoi' 
Kal ri)v Trepl" Ap/3r}\a). There is a 
difficulty in fixing the time of these 
events, and I have been guided by 
probability in placing them at this 
exact period. 

Ch. IX.] 



These proceedings had, of course, alienated Mithri- 
dates II. ; and we may with much probability ascribe 
to them the step, which he now took, of sending an 
ambassador to Sulla. Orobazus, the individual selected, 
was charged to propose an alliance offensive and de- 
fensive between the two countries. 1 Sulla received 
the overture favourably, but probably considered that 
it transcended his powers to conclude a treaty ; and 
thus nothing more was effected by the embassy than 
the establishment of a good understanding between 
the two States. 2 

Soon after this Tigranes appears to have renewed 
his attacks upon Parthia, 3 which in the interval between 
B.C. 92 and B.C. 83 he greatly humbled, 4 depriving it of 
the whole of Upper Mesopotamia, at this time called 
Gordyene, and under the rule of one of the Parthian 
tributary kings. 5 Of the details of this war we have 
no account ; and it is even uncertain whether it fell 
within the reign of Mithridates II. or no. The un- 
fortunate mistake of Justin, 6 whereby he confounded this 
monarch with Mithridates III., has thrown this portion 
of the Parthian history into confusion, and has made 
even the successor of Mithridates II. uncertain. 

Mithridates II. probably died about B.C. 89, after 

1 Plutarch speaks of the Par- 
tisans as nvfxfxaxiaq tcai <pi\iag Seofxe- 
vovg. Livy's epitomizer says : 
'Parthorum legati, a rege Arsace 
inissi, venerunt ad Sullam, ut ami- 
eitiam populi Romani peterent.' 
Velleius puts the embassy nine 
years later (i. 24, § 3), when Sulla 
was in Asia for the second time ; 
but the combined authority of Livy 
and Plutarch outweighs his. 

2 We find no mention in any 
author of a treaty being made at 
this time. That friendly relations 

were regarded as established is im- 
plied in the expression of Livy's 
epitomizer, under B.C. 66 } ' Cn. 
Pompeius cum rege Parthorum 
Phraate amicitiam renovavit.' 
(Ep. c.) 

3 See Plut. Lucidl. § 14. Tiypawg, 

tX^v Svvajjuv y HdpOovg TztpiKOTTTti 

T1]Q ' kOlClQ. 

4 Ibid. § 21. T>)v ndpQcov, ojq 

aXkoQ ovStig, Svvafxiv iTcnrti vuxrev. 

5 Cf. Strab. xi. 14, § 15 with 
Plut. Lueull. § 21. 

6 See above, p. 123. 


a reign which must have exceeded thirty-five years. 
His great successes against the Scythians in the earlier 
portion of his reign were to some extent counter- 
balanced by his losses to Tigranes in his old age ; 
but on the whole he must be regarded as one of the 
more vigorous and successful of the Parthian monarchs, 
and as combining courage with prudence. It is to 
his credit that he saw the advantage of establishing 
friendly relations with Eome at a time when an ordi- 
nary Oriental monarch might have despised the distant 
Eepublic, and have thought it beneath his dignity 
to make overtures to so strange and anomalous a 
power. Whether he definitely foresaw the part which 
Eome was about to play in the East, we may doubt ; but 
at any rate he must have had a prevision that the part 
would not be trifling or insignificant. Of the private 
character of Mithridates we have no sufficient materials 
to judge. If it be true that he put his envoy, Orobazus, 
to death on account of his having allowed Sulla to 
assume a position at their conference derogatory to the 
dignity of the Parthian State, 1 we must pronounce him 
a harsh master ; but the tale, which rests wholly on 
the weak authority of the gossip-loving Plutarch, is 
perhaps scarcely to be accepted. 

1 As related by Plutarch, Sull. § 5. 




Dark period of Parthian History. Doubtful Succession of the Monarchs. 
Accession of Sanatrccces, ab. B.C. 7C>. Position of Parthia during the 
Mithridatie Wars. Accession of Phraates 111. His Relations with 
Pompey. His Death. Civil War between his two sons, Mithridates and 
Orodes. Death of Mithridates. 

' Varia complurium regum in Parthis successione imperium accepit Orodes.' 

Trog. Pomp. Epit. lib. xlii. 

The successor of Mithridates II. is unknown. It has 
been argued, indeed, that the reigns of the known 
monarchs of this period would not be unduly long 
if we regarded them as strictly consecutive, and placed 
no blank between the death of Mithridates II., and 
the accession of the next Arsaces whose name has 
come down to us. 1 Sanatreeces, it has been said, may 
have been, and may, therefore, well be regarded as, 
the successor of Mithridates. But the words of the 
epitomiser of Trogus, placed at the head of this 
chapter, forbid the acceptance of this theory. The 
epitomiser would not have spoken of ' many kings ' as 
intervening between Mithridates II. and Orodes, if 
the number had been only three. The expression 
implies, at least, four or five monarchs ; and thus we 
have no choice but to suppose that the succession 
of the kings is here imperfect, 2 and that at least one or 

1 Clinton, Fasti Romani, vol. ii. 
p. 245, note 1. 

2 The known kings between Mi- 
thridates II. and Orodes are three 
only — viz. Sanatrceces, Phraates 
III., and Mithridates III. The 

succession of these three and of 
Orodes to Mithridates III. is cer- 
tain. Thus the only possible gap 
is between Mithridates II. and Sa- 

138 the sixth monarchy. [Cn. x. 

tAvo reigns were interposed between those of the 
second Mithridates and of the monarch known as 
Sanatroeces, Sinatroces, or Sintricus. 

A casual notice of a Parthian monarch in a late 
writer may supply the gap, either wholly or in part. 
Lucian speaks of a certain Mnasciras as a Parthian 
king, who died at the advanced age of ninety-six. 1 
As there is no other place in the Parthian history 
at which the succession is doubtful, and as no such 
name as Mnasciras occurs elsewhere in the list, it 
seems necessary, unless we reject Lucian's authority 
altogether, to insert this monarch here. We cannot 
say, however, how long he reigned, or ascribe to him 
any particular actions ; nor can we say definitely what 
king he either succeeded or preceded. It is possible 
that his reign covered the entire interval between 
Mithridates II. and Sanatroeces ; it is possible, on the 
other hand, that he had successors and predecessors, 
whose names have altogether perished. 

The expression used by the epitomiser of Trogus, 2 
and a few words dropped by Plutarch, 3 render it 
probable that about this time there were contentions 
between various members of the Arsacid family which 
issued in actual civil war. Such contentions are a 
marked feature of the later history ; and, according to 
Plutarch, they commenced at this period. We may 
suspect from the great age of two of the monarchs 
chosen, 4 that the Arsacid stock was now very limited 
in number, that it offered no candidates for the throne 

1 Llician, Macrob. § 15. fan>anHx)Q vtc' kfxyv'Mojv ical Trporr- 

2 l Varia complurium regum oikuv ttoXe/jiujv ovo' 'Apfuvlovg 
successione.' A varied succession viSpiCovrag Iprxo/x^vrig apvvtaUat. 
implies irregularity, which is natu- ' 4 Sanatroeces and Mnasciras, who 
rally accompanied by disturbance, j were respectively eighty and about 

3 Plut. Lucull. § 36. '!'/>; lldpOojv ninety at their accession. 


whose claims were indisputable, and that consequently 
at each vacancy there was a division of opinion among 
the ' Megistanes,' which led to the claimants making 
appeal, • if the election went against them, to the 
arbitrament of arms. 

The dark time of Parthian history is terminated by 
the accession — probably in B.C. 76 * — of the king 
above mentioned as known by the three names of 
Sanatroeces, Sinatroces, and Sintricus. 2 The form, 
Sanatroeces, which appears upon the Parthian coins, is 
on that account to be preferred. The king so called 
had reached when elected the advanced age of eighty. 3 
It may be suspected that he was a son of the sixth 
Arsaces 4 (Mithridates I.), and consequently a brother 
of Phraates II. He had, perhaps, been made prisoner 
by the Scythians in the course of the disastrous war 
waged by that monarch, and had been retained in 
captivity for above fifty years. At any rate, he 
appears to have been indebted to the Scythians in 
some measure for the crown which he acquired so 
tardily, his enjoyment of it having been secured by the 
help of a contingent of troops furnished to him by the 
Scythic tribe of the Sacauracas. 5 

1 So Phlegon (Fr. 12), who is | fact that, like Phraates II., he 
more definite in his statement than takes the epithet of UtoTrdrup upon 
Mr. Clinton represents (F. R. vol. his coins, which implies the divi- 
ii. p. 24o). Dio {Hist. Rom. xxxv. nity of his father. It is doubtful 
3 : xxxvi. 28) and Appian {Mithri- if any Parthian monarch besides 
dat. p. 242, E.) are less exact, but Mithridates I. had yet been 
on the whole confirm Phlegon. deified. The age of Sanatroeces 

2 Sanatroeces (2ANATP0IKH2) lis suitable. As he was seventy- 

is the form found upon the coins ; 
Sinatroces is that of the best MSS. 
of Lucian ; Sintricus occurs in Ap- 
pian (l.s.c.) Phlegon gives Sina- 

truces (j-ivaTpovKtio). 

3 Or, strictly speaking, seventy- 
nine (oyCioi)KoaTbv iroQ yEyovtog. 
Lucian, l.s.c.) 

4 The suspicion arises from the 

nine in B.C. 76, he must have 
been born B.C. 155, or about 
twenty years before Mithridates I. 

5 Lucian, 1. s. c. The ' Sacau- 
racse ' are not otherwise known, 
unless we regard them as identical 
with the Sacarauli (supra, p. 118). 



[Ch. X. 

The position of the Empire at the time of his 
accession was one of considerable difficulty. Parthia, 
during the period of her civil contentions, had lost 
much ground in the west, having been deprived by 
Tigranes of at least two important provinces. 1 At the 
same time she had been witness of the tremendous 
struggle between Some and Pontus, which, commenced 
in B.C. 88, was still continuing, and still far from 
decided, when Sanatrceces came to the throne. An 
octogenarian monarch was unfit to engage in strife ; 
and if Sanatrceces, notwithstanding this drawback, had 
been ambitious of military distinction, it would have 
been difficult for him to determine into which scale 
the interests of his country required that he should cast 
the weight of his sword. On the one hand, Parthia 
had evidently much to fear from the military force and 
the covetous disposition of Tigranes, king of Armenia, 
the son-in-law of Mithri dates, and at this time his chosen 
ally. Tigranes had hitherto been continually increasing 
in strength. By the defeat of Artanes, 2 king of 
Sophene, or Armenia Minor, he had made himself 
master of Armenia in its widest extent ; by his wars 
with Parthia herself, he had acquired Gordyene, or 
Northern Mesopotamia, and Adiabene, or the entire 
rich tract east of the middle Tigris (including Assyria 
Proper and Arbelitis), as far, at any rate, as the course 
of the lower Zab ; 3 by means which are not stated 
he had brought under subjection the king of the 
important country of Media Atropatene, independent 

1 Gordvene and Adiabene. (See 
Plut. Lucull. § 21 and § 26.) It 
is uncertain whether Media Atro- 
patene, which had also been con- 
quered by Tigranes (Strab. xi. 14, 
§ 15 j Plut. Lucull. § 26), had up 

to this time ever formed a portion 
of the Parthian dominions. Most 
probably it had not. 

2 Strab. xi. 14, § 15. 

3 Plutarch. Lucull. § 26 ; Strab. 
1. s. c. 



since the time of Alexander. 1 Invited into Syria, about 
B.C. 83, by the wretched inhabitants, wearied with the 
perpetual civil wars between princes of the house of 
the Seleucida3, he had found no difficulty in establishing 
himself as king over Cilicia, Syria, and most of 
Phoenicia. 2 About B.C. 80 he had determined on 
building himself a new capital in the province of 
Gordyene, 3 a capital of a vast size, 4 provided with all 
the luxuries required by an Oriental court, 5 and 
for tiiied with walls which recalled the glories of the 
ancient cities of the Assyrians. 6 The position of this 
huge town on the very borders of the Parthian king- 
dom, in a province which had till very recently been 
Parthian, could be no otherwise understood than as a 
standing menace to Parthia itself, the proclamation of 
an intention to extend the Armenian dominion south- 
wards, and to absorb at any rate all the rich and 
fertile country between Gordyene and the sea. Thus 
threatened by Armenia, 7 it was impossible for Sana- 
troeces cordially to embrace the side of Mithridates, 8 

1 "Y-t)k6ovq ffTX? Koi top 'Arpo- 
7rctTT)i>dv Kai rbv Fopdvalov. Strab. 

l.s.c. Compare Plut. Lucull. §§26 
and 27. 

2 Appian, Syr. p. 133; Plut. 
Lucull. § 14 ; Justin, xl. 1 ; Eutrop. 
vi. 8. 

3 The exact position of Tigrano- 
certa is unknown, but it was pro- 
bably not far from the modern 
Mardin. (See Strab. xvi. 1, § 23 ; 
Tac. Ann. xv. 5.) 

4 According to Strabo, twelve 
Greek cities were depopulated to 
furnish Tigranocerta with inhabit- 
ants (xi. 14, § 15). According to 
Appian, 300,000 Cappadocians were 
transplanted thither (Mithrid. p. 
216, C). Plutarch speaks of the 
population as having been drawn 
from Cilicia, Cappadocia, Gordyene, 
Assyria, and Adiabene" (Lucull. 


5 See Appian, Mithrid. p. 229, 

A. Kai [SaoiXtia Kai 7rapaSeiaong 
Kara to Trpoaartiov £7to/h fxaicpovg, 
Kai KWiiykaia TcoWa Kai Xiuvnc. 

6 Appian says the walls were 
seventy-five feet high (Jb. p. 228, 
E). The height of those seen by 
Xenophon in Assyria, was 100 or 
150 feet. (Anab. iii. 4, j§ 7-11.) 

7 A threat was also implied in 
the assumption by Tigranes of the 
title i King of kings ' (Plut. Lucull. 
§§14 and 21), hitherto only borne 
by the Parthian m on arch s. 

8 One of the predecessors of 
Sanatrceces had, it would seem, 
allied himself with Mithridates 
about B.C. 88 (Appian, Mithr. p. 
180 C. ; Memnon, Fr. 30, § 3); 
but Parthia does not appear to have 
ever lent him any aid. 



[Ch. X. 

with which Armenia and its king were so closely 
allied ; it was impossible for him even to wish that 
the two allies should be free to work their will on the 
Asiatic continent unchecked by the power which 
alone had for the last twelve years obstructed their 
ambitious projects. 

On the other hand, there was already among the 
Asiatic princes generally a deep distrust of Eome 1 — a 
fear that in the new people, which had crept so quietly 
into Asia, was to be found a power more permanently 
formidable than the Macedonians, a power which would 
make up for want of brilliancy and dash by a dogged 
perseverance in its aims, and a stealthy, crafty policy, 
sure in the end to achieve great and striking results. 
The acceptance of the kingdom of Attalus had not, 
perhaps, alarmed any one ; but the seizure of Phrygia 
during the minority of Mithridates, without so much as 
a pretext, 2 and the practice, soon afterwards established, 
of setting up puppet kings, 3 bound to do the bidding 
of their Eoman allies, had raised suspicions ; the ease 
with which Mithridates, notwithstanding his great 
power and long preparation, had been vanquished in 
the first war (b.c. 88-84), had aroused fears ; and Sana- 
troeces could not but misdoubt the advisability of lending 
aid to the Eomans, and so helping them to obtain a 
still firmer hold on Western Asia. Accordingly we 
find, that when the final war broke out in B.C. 74, his 
inclination was, in the first instance, to stand wholly 
aloof, and when that became impossible, then to tempo- 

1 The existence of these feelings 
is indicated, 1, by the speech which 
Trogus put into the mouth of 
Mithridates (Justin, xxxviii. 4-7) ; 
and, 2, by the alleged letter of 
Mithridates to the Parthian king. 

(Sallust, Hist. Rom. ix. Fr. 12.) 

2 Justin, xxxviii. 5, § 3; Mem- 
non, Fr. 30, § 2. 

3 As Ariobarzanes in Cappado- 
cia, and the third Nicomedes in 


rise. To the application for assistance made by Mith- 
ridates in B.C. 72, a direct negative was returned ; l and 
it was not until, in B.C. 69, the war had approached his 
own frontier, and both parties made the most earnest 
appeals to him for aid, that he departed from the line 
of pure abstention, and had recourse to the expedient 
of amusing both sides with promises, while he helped 
neither. 2 According to Plutarch, this line of procedure 
offended Lucullus, and had nearly induced him to defer 
the final struggle with Mithridates and Tigranes, and 
turn his arms against Parthia. 3 But the prolonged 
resistance of Nisibis, and the successes of Mithridates in 
Pontus, diverted the danger ; and the war rolling north- 
wards, Parthia was not yet driven to take a side, but 
was enabled to maintain her neutral position for some 
years longer. 

Meanwhile the aged Sanatroeces died, 4 and was 
succeeded by his son, Phraates III. This prince fol- 
lowed at first his father's example, and abstained from 
mixing himself up in the Mithridatic war ; but in B.C. 
66, being courted by both sides, and promised the re- 
storation of the provinces lost to Tigranes, 5 he made 
alliance with Pompey, and undertook, while the latter 
pressed the war against Mithridates, to find occupation 
for the Armenian monarch in his own land. This 

1 Memnon, Fr. 43, § 2. 

2 Appian, Mitkr. p. 230, D ; Dio 
Cass. xxxv. 1 and 3 ; Memnon, Fr. 
58, § 2. This last writer calls the 
Parthian monarch, by mistake, 
Phradates (i.e. Phraates). It is 
evident from Dio Cass. xxxv. 3, 
compared with xxxvi. 28, that it was 
Sanatroeces, and not his son, Phra- 
ates, who amused Lucullus and 
Mithridates with promises. 

3 Plut. Lucull. § 30. 

4 Appian, p. 242, E ; Dio Cass. 
xxxvi. 28, B. 

5 Dio Cass. l.S.C 'O Uoix7rrfiog 
rijv <pi\i.av T(p Qpaary hiri rolg 
avTolc, 7rporjvv6Ti9tTo. This can only 
mean that Pompey and Mithridates 
offered the same terms. What 
these were is best learnt from 
Memnon, Fr. 08, § 2 (dinrptofitvtTo 
7rapaxu)ptli> avTifi ry)v Mtao-Toraixiav 
koi rr)v 'ASia[3r]V)iv Kai tovq MeydXoug 


engagement he executed with fidelity. It had happened 
that the eldest living son of Tigranes, a prince bearing 
the same name as his father, having raised a rebellion 
in Armenia and been defeated, had taken refuge in 
Parthia with Phraates. 1 Phraates determined to take 
advantage of this circumstance. The young Tigranes 
was supported by a party among his countrymen who 
wished to see a youthful monarch upon the throne ; and 
Phraates therefore considered that he would best dis- 
charge his obligations to the Eomans by fomenting this 
family quarrel, and lending a moderate support to the 
younger Tigranes against his father. He marched an 
army into Armenia in the interest of the young prince, 
overran the open country, and advanced on Artaxata, 
the capital. Tigranes, the king, fled at his approach, 
and betook himself to the neighbouring mountains. 
Artaxata was invested ; but as the siege promised to 
be long, the Parthian monarch after a time withdrew, 
leaving the pretender with as many troops as he thought 
necessary to press the siege to a successful issue. The 
result, however, disappointed his expectations. Scarcely 
was Phraates gone, when the old king fell upon his son, 
defeated him, and drove him beyond his borders. 2 
He was forced, however, soon afterwards, to submit 
to Pompey, 3 who, while the civil war was raging in 
Armenia, had defeated Mithridates and driven him to 
take refuge in the Tauric Chersonese. 

Phraates, now, naturally expected the due reward 
of his services, according to the stipulations of his agree- 
ment with Pompey. But that general was either 
dissatisfied with the mode in which the Parthian had 

1 Appian, p. 242, E : Dio Cass. I 3 Dio Cass, xxxvi. 35 ; App. 
xxxvi. 34, C. | Mithr. p. 243, B. 

3 Dio Cass, l.s.c. 


discharged his obligations, or disinclined to strengthen 
the power which he saw to be the only one in these 
parts capable of disputing with Eome the headship of 
Asia. He could scarcely prevent, and he does not seem 
to have tried to prevent, the recovery of Adiabene by 
the Parthians ; but the nearer province of Gordyene, 
to which they had an equal claim, he would by no 
means consent to their reoccnpying. At first he des- 
tined it for the younger Tigranes. 1 When that prince 
offended him, he made it over to Ariobarzanes, the 
Cappadocian monarch. 2 That arrangement not taking 
effect, and the tract being disputed between Phraates 
and the elder Tigranes, he sent his legate, Afranius, to 
drive the Parthians out of the country, and delivered it 
over into the hands of the Armenians. 8 At the same time 
he insulted the Parthian monarch by refusing him his 
generally recognised title of ' King of Kings.' 4 He 
thus entirely alienated his late ally, who remonstrated 
against the injustice with which he was treated, 5 and 
was only deterred from declaring war by the whole- 
some fear which he entertained of the Eoman arms. 

Pompey, on his side, no doubt took the question into 
consideration, whether or no he should declare the 
Parthian prince a Eoman enemy, and proceed to direct 
against him the available forces of the Empire. He had 
purposely made him hostile, and compelled him to take 
steps which might have furnished a plausible casus belli 
But, on the whole, he found that he was not prepared 

1 Appian, Mithr. p. 243, C. 

2 Ibid. p. 243, E. 

3 Plut. Pomp. § 36 ; Dio Cass, 
xxxvii. 5, C. 

4 Plut. Pomp. § 33 ; Bio Cass, 
xxxvii. (3. 

5 Dio Cass. l.S.C. 7rl/x\pag TrpiafiiiQ 

rrai'Ta oaa t'jolicrjro £7ruca\ii ol — and 
again, Trp'iafiui; re avdiQ irpbq abrhv 

CtTTilTTtCkE KOL TToWd flf.V TOV Tiypc'lTOl) 

KaTtjyoprjat) TroWd de trai lg r<ir<; 

'Piopniovg v7rtrrr]fi,?)vfT. This writer 
evidently feels the injustice with 
which Phraates was treated. 


to venture on the encounter. The war had not been 
formally committed to him ; and if he did not prosper 
in it, he dreaded the accusations of his enemies at Home. 
He had seen, moreover, with his own eyes, that the 
Parthians were an enemy far from despicable, and his 
knowledge of campaigning told him that success against 
them was not certain. He feared to risk the loss of all 
the glory which he had obtained by grasping greedily 
at more, and preferred enjoying the fruits of the good 
luck which had hitherto attended him to tempting 
fortune on a new field. 1 He therefore determined that 
he would not allow himself to be provoked into hostili- 
ties by the reproaches, the dictatorial words, or even 
the daring acts of the Parthian Kin^. When Phraates 
demanded his lost provinces, he replied, that the ques- 
tion of borders was one which lay, not between Parthia 
and Eome, but between Parthia and Armenia, 2 When 
he laid it down that the Euphrates properly bounded 
the Eoman territory, and charged Pompey not to cross 
it, the latter said he would keep to the just bounds, 
whatever they were. 3 When Tigranes complained that 
after having been received into the Eoman alliance he 
was still attacked by the Parthian armies, the reply of 
Pompey was that he was willing to appoint arbitrators 
who should decide all the disputes between the two 
nations. 4 The moderation and caution of these answers 
proved contagious. The monarchs addressed resolved 
to compose their differences, or at any rate to defer the 
settlement of them to a more convenient time. They 

1 See the account which Dio ! Plutarch (Poniji. § 33, ad Jin.) re- 
gives of Pompey's motives (xxxvii. cord Phraates' demand ; but the 
7). latter alone gives Pompey's reply — 

2 <&}'i<iag virkp <>f>iiuv tivmv ttjv opq) \py}<rio9ai rw SiKaitp, 

Siafyopav ainp irpbg rbv Tiyput'ij 4 Plut. Pomp. § 39; Dio Cass. 
tlvnu (Dio Cass, xxxvii. 7, D.) xxxvii. 7, D. 

:; Both Dio (xxxvii. 6, A) and 


accepted Pompey's proposal of an arbitration ; and in a 
short time an arrangement was effected by which rela- 
tions of amity were re-established between the' two 
countries. 1 

It would seem that not very long after the conclusion 
of this peace and the retirement of Pompey from Asia 
(b.c. 62), Phraates lost his life. He was assassinated 
by his two sons, Mithridates and Orodes ; 2 for what 
cause we are not told. Mithridates, the elder of the 
two, succeeded him (about B.C. 60) ; and, as all fear of 
the Eomans had now passed away in consequence of 
their apparently peaceful attitude, he returned soon 
after his accession to the policy of his namesake, Mith- 
ridates II., and resumed the struggle with Armenia 
from which his father had desisted. 3 The object of the 
war was probably the recovery of the lost province of 
Gordyene, which, having been delivered to the elder 
Tigranes by Pompey, had remained in the occupation of 
the Armenians. Mithridates seems to have succeeded 
in his enterprise. When we next obtain a distinct view 
of the boundary line which divides Parthia from her 
neighbours towards the north and the north-west, which 
is within five years of the probable date of Mithridates' 
accession, we find Gordyene once more a Parthian pro- 
vince. 4 As the later years of this intermediate lustre 
are a time of civil strife, during which territorial gains 
can scarcely have been made, we are compelled to refer 

were engaged in Armenian wars 

1 Dio Cass, xxxvii. 7. E?5 rj-rri- 

aravro dp.66rtput, says Dio, on 
o-oTtpoqavavTCovTov iripov icpaTynfit, 
nil' rt Trpnyjia-iov rolg 'Pwf.ial.oig 
■n-poaicird/ci {leg. 770ok:o^£<)j kcu avrog 
tv-Xlip&TipoQ ff<piai ytV)i<JETai. ' E/cfTrot 
/it)- 5rj did. Tanra ic((T7]Wayri(JO}'. 

2 Ibid, xxxix. 56. 

3 Justin, xlii. 4, § 1. The fact ! far as the Euphrates, 
that both Mithridates II. and III. i 

seems to have been among the 
reasons of Justin's confusing 

4 This was clearly the case at 
the time of the invasion of Crassus, 
when the Parthians were masters 
of the whole of Mesopotamia as 

l 2 



[Cir. X. 

the conquest to about B.C. 59-57. But in this case it 
must have been clue to Mithridates III., whose reign is 
fixed with much probability to the years B.C. GO-56. 

The credit which Mithridates had acquired by his 
conduct of the Armenian war, he lost soon afterwards 
by the severity of his home administration. There is 
reason to believe that he drove his brother, Orodes, into 
banishment. 1 At any rate, he ruled so harshly and 
cruelly that within a few years of his accession the 
Parthian nobles deposed him, 2 and recalling Orodes 
from his place of exile, set him up as king in his 
brother's room. Mithridates was, it would seem, at 
first allowed to govern Media as a subject monarch ; 
but after a while his brother grew jealous of him, and 
deprived him of this dignity. 3 Unwilling to acquiesce 
in his disgrace, Mithridates fled to the Komans, and 
being favourably received by Gabinius, then proconsul 
of Syria, endeavoured to obtain his aid against his 
countrymen. Gabinius, who was at once weak and 
ambitious, lent a ready ear to his entreaties, and was 
upon the point of conducting an expedition into Par- 
thia, when he received a still more tempting invitation 
from another quarter. 4 Ptolemy Auletes, expelled from 
Egypt by his rebellious subjects, asked his aid, and 
having recommendations from Pompey, and a fair sum of 
ready money to disburse, found little difficulty in per- 
suading the Syrian proconsul to relinquish his Parthian 
plans and march the force at his disposal into Egypt. 
Mithridates, upon this, withdrew from Syria, and re-en- 

1 Plutarch tells us that the Par- 
thian general who defeated Crassus 
had previously brought hack Orodes 
from banishment ( Vit. Crass. § 21). 
Appian follows him (Parth. p. 141, 


Propter crudeli- 

tatem a senatu Parthico regno 

3 DioCass.xxxix. 56. MtPpiddrrjv 
tov adtXtpbv tic ttjq Mtjdiacj ))g ?ipx* v j 

4 App. Syriac. p. 120, A ; Par- 
thic. p. 134, A. 

Cn. X.] 



tering the Parthian territory, commenced a civil war 
against his brother, finding numerous partisans, espe- 
cially in the region about Babylon. 1 It may be suspected 
that Seleucia, the second city in the Empire, embraced 
his cause. 2 Babylon, into which he had thrown him- 
self, sustained a long siege on his behalf, and only 
yielded when compelled by famine. 8 Mithridates might 
again have become a fugitive ; but he was weary of the 
disappointments and hardships which are the ordinary 
lot of a pretender, and preferred to cast himself on the 
mercy and affection of his brother. Accordingly he 
surrendered himself unconditionally to Orodes ; but 
this prince, professing to place the claims of patriotism 
above those of relationship, 4 caused the traitor who had 
sought aid from Borne to be instantly executed. Thus 
perished Mithridates III. after a reign which cannot 
have exceeded five years, in the winter of B.C. 56, or 
the early spring of B.C. 55. Orodes, on his death, was 
accepted as king by the whole nation. 

1 Justin, xlii. 4, § 2. 

2 That Seleucia had been in re- 
hellion against Orodes before B.C. 
54, and had been recovered for him 
by the general whom he employed 
against Crassus, is related by Plu- 
tarch (Crass. § 21). It is reason- 
able to connect this rebellion with 
the civil war between the brothers. 
Mommsen, however, does so too 
positively. (Rom. Geschichte, vol. 

iii. p. 323^ 

3 Justin incorrectly says, l Bciby- 
loniam, quo Mithridates confugerat, 
diu obsidet, et fame coactos in 
deditionem oppidanos compellit.' 
(l.s.c.) But it is evident that the 
town, Babylon (' Babylonem '), is 

4 ' Plus hostem quam fratrem 
cogitans.' (Justin, xlii. 4 ; § 4.) 



[Cn. XL 


Accession of Orodes I. Expedition of Crassus. His fate. Retaliatory 
inroad of the Parthians into Syria under Pacorus, the son of Orodes. 
Defeat of Pacorus by Cassius. His recall. End of first War with 

1 Parthi ... a Romanis, bellis per maximos duces florentissimis temporibus 
lacessiti. soli ex omnibus gentibusnon pares solum, sed etiam victores fuere.' 

Justin, xli. 1, § 7. 

The complete triumph of Orodes over Mithridates, and 
his full establishment in his kingdom, cannot be placed 
earlier than B.C. 56, and most probably fell in B.C. 55. 1 
In this latter year Crassus obtained the consulship at 
Borne, and, being appointed at the same time to the 
command of the East, 2 made no secret of his intention 
to march the Boman. legions across the Euphrates, and 
engage in hostilities with the great Parthian kingdom. 3 
According to some writers, his views extended even 
further. He spoke of the wars which Lucullus had 
waged against Tigranes and Pompey against Mithri- 
dates of Pontus as mere child's play, and announced 
his intention of carrying the Boman arms to Bactria, 
India, and the Eastern Ocean. 4 The Parthian king was 

1 Gabinius, to whom Mithridates 
fled, was not proconsul of Syria till 
B.C. 5G, and Mithridates therefore 
cannot have applied to him till that 
year. As the civil war followed 
on this application, and the siege of 
Babylon is expressly said to have 
occupied a long time (Justin), 
Mithridates can scarcely have sub- 
mitted until B.C. 55. 


2 Liv. Epit. cv. ; Dio Cass, xxxix. 

3 Plut. Crass. § 16. 

4 Ibid. 'He TraiCiav cnrotyavGJv ra 
Am>kov\\ov ~f)<,c Tiypct)>tiv Kai no//- 
■mfiov 7-pug MifJpiOa'rj/i', (ixP 1 BaKrpiuJV 

KCCl *It'8wV KCll T?jC f£u> 0Cl\atT<TllQ 

avijyev iuvrbv to.1'.; t-X-riai. Compare 
App. Parth. p. 135, C. 

Ch. XL] 



thus warned betimes of the impending danger, and 
enabled to make all such preparations against it as he 
deemed necessary. More than a year elapsed between 
the assignment to Crassus of Syria as his province, and 
liis first overt act of hostility against Orodes. 

It cannot be doubted that this breathing-time was 
well spent by the Parthian monarch. Besides forming 
his general plan of campaign at his leisure, and collect- 
ing, arming, and exercising his native forces, he was 
enabled to gain over certain chiefs upon his borders, 
who had hitherto held a semi-dependent position, and 
might have been expected to welcome the Eomans, 
One of these, Abgarus, 1 prince of Osrhoene, or the 
tract east of the Euphrates about the city of Edessa, 
had been received into the Koman alliance by Pompey, 
but, with the fickleness common among Orientals, he 
now readily changed sides, and undertook to play 
a double part for the advantage of the Parthians. 2 
Another, Alchaudonius, an Arab sheikh of these parts, 
had made his submission to Eome even earlier ; 3 but 
having become convinced that Parthia was the stronger 
power of the two, he also went over to Orodes. 4 The 
importance of these adhesions would depend greatly 
on the line of march which Crassus might determine to 
follow in making his attack. Three plans were open 
to him. He might either throw himself on the support 
of Artavasdes, the Armenian monarch, who had recently 
succeeded his father Tigranes, and entering Armenia, 
take the safe but circuitous route through the moun- 

1 The name is given variously, 
as Abgarus, Acbarus, aud Avgarus 
(Avyapoc) ; but the first form is the 
only one used upon the coins of 
Edessa. Otherwise the form Ac- 
barus might seem preferable, as the 
representative of the Arabic Akbar. 

All the princes of Edessa seem to 
have been called either Abgarus or 

2 Dio Cass. xl. 20 ; App. Parth. 
p. 140, A. 

3 Dio Cass. xxxv. 2, ad fin. 

4 Ibid. xl. 20. 


tains into Adiabene, and so by the left bank of the 
Tigris to Ctesiphon ; or he might, like the younger 
Cyrus, follow the course of the Euphrates to the lati- 
tude of Seleucia, and then cross the narrow tract of 
plain which there separates the two rivers ; or, finally,, 
he might attempt the shortest but most dangerous line 
across the Belik and Khabour, and directly through the 
Mcsopotamian desert. If the Armenian route were 
preferred, neither Abgarus nor Alchaudonius would be 
able to do the Parthians much service ; but if Crassus- 
resolved on following either of the others, their alliance 
could not but be most valuable. 

Crassus, however, on reaching his province, seemed 
in no haste to make a decision. He must have arrived 
in Syria tolerably early in the spring ; x but his opera- 
tions during the first year of his proconsulship were 
unimportant. He seems at once to have made up his 
mind to attempt nothing more than a reconnaissance. 
Crossing the Euphrates at Zeugma, the modern Bir or 
Bireh-jik, he proceeded to ravage the open country, and 
to receive the submission of the Greek cities, which 
were numerous throughout the region between the 
Euphrates and the Belik. 2 The country was defended 
by the Parthian satrap with a small force ; but this was 
easily defeated, the satrap himself receiving a wound. 3 

1 Crassus left Borne in the year I very beginning of 700 ' (bereits 
of his consulship B.C. 55, later Anfang 700). 

than Noy._ 15 (Cic. Ep. aa^Att. \ 2 Dio Cass. xl. 13. Compare 

' Isid. Char. Mans. Parth. § 1. The 
chief of these cities were Apameia, 
Anthemusias or Charax Sidse, 
Ichnre, and Isicephorium. 

3 Dio Cass. xl. 12. This engage- 
ment took place near Ichnse, which 
was on the Belik, about seventeen 
miles north of Bakkah (Nicepho- 

iv. 13). He took ship from Brun- 
dusium before the storms of winter 
were over (Plut. Crass. § 17), pro- 
ceeded to Asia Minor, and marched 
rapidly through Galatia (yTrtiytTo 
did r«\ariac, ib.) into Syria, where 
he must have arrived as earl}' as 
April or May. Mommsen, how- 
ever, overstates the case, when 
he makes him reach Syria ' at the 


One Greek city only, Zenodotium, offered resistance to 
the invader ; its inhabitants having requested and 
received a Eoman garrison of one hundred men, rose 
upon them and put them barbarously to the sword ; 
whereupon Crassus besieged and took the place, gave 
it up to his army to plunder, and sold the entire popu- 
lation for slaves. 1 He then, as winter drew near, deter- 
mined to withdraw into Syria, leaving garrisons in the 
various towns. The entire force left behind is estimated 
at eight thousand men. 2 

It is probable that Orodes had expected a more 
determined attack, and had retained his army near his 
capital until it should become evident by which route 
the enemy would advance against him. Acting on an 
inner circle, he could readily have interposed his forces, 
on whichever line the assailants threw themselves. But 
the tardy proceedings of his antagonist made his caution 
superfluous. The first campaign was over, and there 
had scarcely been a collision between the troops of the 
two nations. Parthia had been insulted by a wanton 
attack, and had lost some disaffected cities ; but no 
attempt had been made to fulfil the grand boasts with 
which the war had been undertaken. 

It may be suspected that the Parthian monarch 
began now to despise his enemy. He would compare 
him with Lucullus and Pompey, and understand that 
a Eoman army, like any other, was formidable, or the 
reverse, according as it was ably or feebly commanded. 
He would know that Crassus was a sexagenarian, and 
may have heard that he had never yet shown himself 
a captain or even a soldier. Perhaps he almost 
doubted whether the proconsul had any real intention 

1 Plut. Crass. § 17 ; Dio Cass. I 3 Seven thousand foot and a 
x}. 13. | thousand horse. (Plut. l.s.c.) 


of pressing the contest to a decision, and might not 
rather be expected, when he had enriched himself and 
his troops with Mesopotamian plunder, to withdraw 
his garrisons across the Euphrates. Crassus was at 
this time showing the worst side of his character in 
Syria, despoiling temples of their treasures, 1 and 
accepting money in lien of contingents of troops from 
the dynasts of Syria and Palestine. 2 Orodes, under 
these circumstances, sent an embassy to him, which 
was well calculated to stir to action the most sluggish 
and poor-spirited of commanders. ' If the war/ said 
his envoys, c was really waged by Kome, it must be 
fought out to the bitter end. But if, as they had 
good reason to believe, 3 Crassus, against the wish of 
his country, had attacked Parthia and seized her 
territory for his own private gain, Arsaces would be 
moderate. He would have pity on the advanced years 
of the jyroconsid, and would give the Eomans back 
those men of theirs, who were not so much keeping 
watch in Mesopotamia, as having Avatch kept on them.' 
Crassus, stung with the taunt, exclaimed, ' He would 
return the ambassadors an answer at Seleucia.' Wa- 
gises, the chief ambassador, prepared for some such 
exhibition of feeling, and glad to heap taunt on taunt, 
replied, striking the palm of one hand with the fingers 
of the other : ' Hairs will grow here, Crassus, before 
you see Seleucia.' 4 

1 It is certain that Crassus plun- i areiaie (rrparaoruiv KaraXnyovc, dr' 
dered the ancient shrine of Atarga- ; a j/(Kf apyvpwv ciuuv-ar. (Plut. 
tis or Derceto at Hierapolis (Plut. | Crass, l.s.c.) 

Crass. § 17 ; App. Parth. p. 187, j 3 The intention of Crassus to 
B). According- to Josephus (Ant. | attack the Parthians was well 
Jud. xiv. 7, § 1), he also made a known at Home, and was opposed 
journey to Jerusalem for the ex- | by a powerful party. (See Plut. 
press purpose of plundering the Crass. § 16 j Cic. Ep. ad Div. v. 8 ; 
Jewish Temple. (Compare Oro- &c.) 
sius, vi. 13.) 4 Plut. Crass. § 18; Dio Cass. 

ct'l/ioic Kal dvi>a- j xl. 10. 


Still further to quicken the action of the Boinans, 
before the winter was well over, the offensive was 
taken against their adherents in Mesopotamia. The 
towns which held Roman garrisons were attacked by 
the Parthians in force ; and, though we do not hear of 
any being captured, all of them were menaced, and all 
suffered considerably. 1 

If Crassus needed to be stimulated, these stimulants 
were effective ; and he entered on his second campaign 
with a full determination to compel the Parthian 
monarch to an engagement, and, if possible, to dictate 
peace to him at his capital. He had not, however, 
in his second campaign, the same freedom with regard 
to his movements that he had enjoyed the year previous. 
The occupation of Western Mesopotamia cramped his 
choice. It had, in fact, compelled him before quitting 
Syria to decline, definitely and decidedly, the over- 
tures of Artavasdes, who strongly urged on him to 
advance by way of Armenia, and promised him in 
that case an important addition to his forces. 2 Crassus 
felt himself compelled to support his garrisons, and 
therefore to make Mesopotamia, and not Armenia, the 
basis of his operations. He crossed the Euphrates 
a second time at the same point as before, 3 with an 

1 Dean Merivale speaks of some | 2 Artavasdes offered a contingent 
of the Roman detachments in Me- j of 80,000 foot and 16,000 horse, of 
sopotamia as ' compelled to abandon ; whom 10,000 should be heavily 
their posts' (Roman Umpire, vol. ii. j armed. Crassus replied ' that his 
p. 11) ; but I find no such statement , march would lie through Mesopo- 
in the authorities. Dio says that a tamia, as he had left there many 
Parthian army was sent against the good soldiers.' (Plut. l.s.c.) 
places that had been taken and those 3 This point, as already stated, 
that had fallen away (l.s.c.) ; Plu- i was probably the modern Bir, or 
tarch adds that attacks and combats Bireh-jik, which best answers on 
took place, and that some of the sol- j the whole to the Roman ' Zeugma.' 
diers in garrison, escaping from the (See the note of C. Miiller on Isid. 
beleaguered towns, brought Crassus Char. Mans. Tarth. § 1.) It is not 
an exaggerated account of the dif- j to be confounded with Rum-haUh 
ficulties of Parthian warfare (l.s.c.) (twenty-six miles higher up the 


army composed of 35,000 heavy infantry, 4,000 light 
infantry, and 4,000 horse. 1 There was still open to 
him a certain choice of routes. The one preferred by 
his chief officers was the line of the Euphrates, known 
as that which the Ten Thousand had pursued in an 
expedition that would have been successful but for the 
death of its commander. Along this line water would 
be plentiful ; * forage and other supplies might be 
counted on to a certain extent ; and the advancing 
army, resting on the river, could not be surrounded. 2 
Another, but one that does not appear to have been 
suggested till too late, 3 was that which Alexander had 
taken against Darius ; 4 the line along the foot of the 
Mons Masius, by Edessa, and Nisibis, to Nineveh. 
Here too water and supplies would have been readily 
procurable, and by clinging to the skirts of the hills 
the Eoman infantry would have set the Parthian 
cavalry at defiance. Between these two extreme 
courses to the right and to the left, were numerous 
slightly divergent lines across the Mesopotamian plain, 
all shorter than either of the two above-mentioned, 
and none offering any great advantage over the re- 

It is uncertain what choice the proconsul would 
have made, had the decision been left simply to his 
own judgment. Probably the Eomans had a most 
dim and indistinct conception of the geographical 

river), nor -with Thapsacus (1G0 I of legions to eleven, and Appian 
miles lower down), where Alexan- j (Bell. Civ. iii. 18) makes the entire 

der crossed. Dio (xl. 17) has mis- 
led Dean Merivale. {It. E. vol. ii. 
p. 13, note.) 

1 Plut. Crass. § 20. The seven 
legions of this writer may be esti- 
mated roughly at 35,000 footmen. 
Florus (iii. 11) raises the number 

force amount to 100,000 men. 

2 "A/.ui 0i'»XaKa tov fir) fcuKXuifij/i/ai 
rhv TTOTCijiov axovToc. (Plut. Crass. 


3 Ibid. § 22. Artavasdes is said 
to have suggested this route. 

4 Arrian, Ea"p. Alex. iii. 7. 


character of the Mesopotamian region, and were igno- 
rant of its great difficulties. They remained also, 
it must be remembered, up to this time, absolutely 
unacquainted with the Parthian tactics, and accustomed 
as they were to triumph over every enemy against 
whom they fought, it would scarcely occur to them 
that in an open field they could suffer defeat. They 
were ready, like Alexander, to encounter any number 
of Asiatics, and only asked to be led against the foe 
as quickly as possible. When, therefore, Abgarvus, 
the Osrhoene prince, soon after Crassus had crossed 
the Euphrates, rode into his camp, and declared that 
the Parthians did not intend to make a stand, but 
were quitting Mesopotamia and flying with their trea- 
sures to the remote regions of Hyrcania and Scythia, 
leaving only a rear guard under a couple of generals 
to cover the retreat, 1 it is not surprising that the resolu- 
tion was taken to give up the circuitous route of the 
Euphrates, and to march directly across Mesopotamia 
in the hope of crushing the covering detachment, and 
coining upon the flying multitude encumbered with 
baggage, which would furnish .a rich spoil to the 
victors. In after times it was said that C. Cassius 
Longinus and some other officers were opposed to 
this movement, 2 and foresaw its danger ; but it may 
be questioned whether the whole army did not readily 
obey its leader's order, and commence without any 
forebodings its march through Upper Mesopotamia. 
That region has not really the character which the 
apologists for Eoman disaster in later times gave 
to it. It is a region of swelling hills, and somewhat 
dry gravelly plains. It possesses several streams and 

1 Flut. Crass. § 21. | ~ Ibid. § 20 and § 22. 


rivers, besides numerous springs. 1 At intervals of a 
few miles it was studded with cities and villages ; L> 
nor did the desert really begin until the Khabour 
was crossed. The army of Crassus had traversed it 
throughout its whole extent during the summer of the 
preceding year, and must have been well acquainted 
with both its advantages and its drawbacks. 

But it is time that we should consider what pre- 
parations the Parthian monarch had made against the 
threatened attack. He had, as already stated, come 
to terms with his outlying vassals, the prince of 
Osrhoene, and the sheikh of the Scenite Arabs, and 
had engaged especially the services of the former 
against his assailant. He had further, on considering 
the various possibilities of the campaign, come to the 
conclusion that it would be best to divide his forces, and. 
while himself attacking Artavasdes in the mountain fast- 
nesses of his own country, to commit the task of meeting 
and coping with the Romans to a general of approved 
talents. 3 It was of the greatest importance to prevent 
the Armenians from effecting a junction with the 
Romans, and strengthening them in that arm, in which 
they were especially deficient, the cavalry. Perhaps 
nothing short of an invasion of his country by the 
Parthian king in person would have prevented Arta- 
vasdes from detaching a portion of his troops to act 
in Mesopotamia. And no doubt it is also true that 
Orodes had great confidence in his general, whom he 
may even have felt to be a better commander than 

1 See Chesney, Euphrates Expe- 
dition, vol. i. pp. 4G-49; Niebuhr, 
Voyage en Arabic, pp. 320-334 ; 
Pocock, Description of the East, 
vol. ii. pp. 158-163. 

2 On the line of route between 

must have nearly coincided with 
the march of Crassus, Isidore places 
three cities, one village, and four 
fortified posts. (Mans. Parth. 


3 Plut. Crass. 21; Dio Cass. 

Zeugma and Nicephorium, which ! xl. 1G. 


himself. Surenas, as we must call him, since his name 
has not been preserved to ns, 1 was in all respects a 
person of the highest consideration. He was the 
second man in the kingdom for birth, wealth, and 
reputation. In courage and ability he excelled all his 
countrymen ; and he had the physical advantages 
of commanding height and great personal beauty. 
When he went to battle, he was accompanied by 
a train of a thousand camels, which carried his 
baggage ; and the concubines in attendance on him 


required for their conveyance two hundred chariots. 
A thousand horsemen clad in mail, and a still greater 
number of light-armed, formed his bodyguard. At 
the coronation of a Parthian monarch, it was his 
hereditary right to place the diadem on the brow 
of the new sovereign. When Orodes was driven into 
banishment, it was he who brought him back to 
Parthia in triumph. When Seleucia revolted, it was 
he who at the assault first mounted the breach, and 
striking terror into the defenders, took the city. Though 
less than thirty years of age at the time when he was 
appointed commander, he was believed to possess, 
besides these various qualifications, consummate pru- 
dence and sagacity. 2 

The force which Orodes committed to his brave and 
skilful lieutenant consisted entirely of horse. This 
was not the ordinary character of a Parthian army, 
which often comprised four or live times as many 
infantry as cavalry. It was, perhaps, rather fortunate 
accident than profound calculation that caused the 

1 It has been already observed 
that Surenas, or Surena, was pro- 
perly an official title. (See above, 
p. 8G.) Plutarch, however, Dio, 

and the Pseudo-Appian use it as a 
taken from 

proper name. 
2 This account 

Plutarch (Crass. § 21). 



[Cn. XL 

sole employment against the Eomans of this arm. 1 
The foot soldiers were needed for the rough warfare 
of the Armenian mountains ; the horse would, it was 
known, act with fair effect in the comparatively open 
and level Mesopotamia. As the king wanted the foot- 
men he took them, and left to his general the troops 
which were not required for his own operations. 

The Parthian horse, like the Persian, 2 was of two 
kinds, standing in strong contrast the one to the other. 
The bulk of their cavalry was of the lightest and most 
agile description. Fleet and active coursers, with 
scarcely any caparison but a headstall and a single 
rein, were mounted by riders clad only in a tunic and 
trousers, 3 and armed with nothing but a strong bow 
and a quiver full of arrows. A training begun in 
early boyhood made the rider almost one with his 
steed ; and he could use his weapons with equal ease 
and effect whether his horse was stationary or at full 
gallop, and whether he was advancing towards or 
hurriedly retreating from his enemy. 4 His supply of 
missiles was almost inexhaustible, for when he found 
his quiver empty, he had only to retire a short distance 
and replenish his stock from magazines, borne on the 
backs of camels, in the rear. 5 It was his ordinary 
plan to keep constantly in motion when in the presence 
of an enemy, to gallop backwards and forwards, or 
round and round his square or column, never charging 

1 Mommsen regards the employ- 
ment of cavalry only against Crassus 
as a ' brilliant idea ' (genialen Ge- 
danken) of the Parthian commander 
(Gcschichte, vol. iii. p. 328). 

2 See Ancient Monarchies, vol. 
iii. pp. 178-179, 2nd edit. _ 

3 On the ordinary Scythic equip- 
ment of a light horseman, see the 

author's Herodotus, vol. iii. p. 34, 
2nd edit. There is no reason to 
suppose that the Parthian was dif- 

4 Plut. Crass. § 24, ml Jin. ; Virg. 
Georg. iii. 31; Hor. Od. i. 19, 11; 
ii. 13, 16; Justin, xli. 2; Tac. An. 
vi. 35, &c. 

5 Plut. Crass. $ 25. 


it, but at a moderate interval plying it with his keen 
and barbed shafts ; * which were driven by a practised 
hand from a bow of unusual strength. Clouds of this 
light cavalry enveloped the advancing or the retreating 
foe, and inflicted grievous damage without, for the 
most part, suffering anything in return. 

But this was not the whole. In addition to these 
light troops, a Parthian army comprised always a body 
of heavy cavalry, 2 armed on an entirely different 
system. The strong horses selected for this service 
were clad almost wholly in mail. Their head, neck, 
chest, even their sides and flanks, were protected 
by scale-armour of brass or iron, sewn, probably, upon 
leather. 3 Their riders had cuirasses and cuisses of the 
same materials, and helmets of burnished iron. 4 For 
an offensive weapon they carried a long and strong 
spear or pike. 5 They formed a serried line in battle, 
bearing down with great weight on the enemy whom 
they charged, and standing firm as an iron wall against 
the charges that were made upon them. A cavalry 
answering to this in some respects had been employed 
by the later Persian monarchs, 6 and was in use also 
among the Armenians at this period ; but the Par- 
thian pike was apparently more formidable than the 
corresponding weapons of those nations, and the light 
spear carried at this time by the cavalry of a Eoman 
army was no match for it. 

1 Plutarch speaks of the ' barbed j matce sunt, quse utrumque toto 
points' (rjyKiffTpujfikvdG aKidag) of the corpore tegunt.' Compare Virg. 
Parthian arrows, (l.s.c.) j JEn. xi. 770. 

2 The Greeks called these horse- 4 Plut. Crass. § 24. Kpdvem tov 
men tcara^paKTovQ, ' protected, Mapyiavov <rtdi]pov (tti\j3ovtoq d%v kch 
covered up.' They are best de- j irvptkapireg. 

scribed by Heliodorus (JEthiop. ix. : 5 The contus (kovtoc) of the 
pp. 431-433). , Greeks and Romans. 

3 See Justin, xli. 2, § 10. 'Muni- 6 See Ancient Monarchies, vol. 
mentum ipsis equisque loricce plu- iii. p. 178, 2nd edit. 



The force entrusted to Surenas comprised troops 
of both these classes. No estimate is given us of their 
number, but it was probably considerable. 1 At any 
rate it was sufficient to induce him to make a move- 
ment in advance — to cross the Sinjar range and the 
river Khabour, and take up his position in the country 
between that stream and the Belik — instead of merely 
seeking to cover the capital. The presence of the 
traitor Abgarus in the camp of Crassus, was now 
of the utmost importance to the Parthian commander. 
Abgarus, fully trusted, and at the head of a body 
of light horse, admirably adapted for outpost service, 
was allowed, upon his own request, to scour the 
country in front of the advancing Romans, and had 
thus the means of communicating freely with the 
Parthian chief. He kept Surenas informed of all 
the movements and intentions of Crassus, 2 while at the 
same time he suggested to Crassus such a line of route 
as suited the views and designs of his adversary. Our 
chief authority for the details of the expedition tells 
us, 3 that he led the Roman troops through an arid and 
trackless desert, across plains without tree, or shrub, 
or even grass, where the soil was composed of a light 
shifting sand, which the wind raised into a succession 
of hillocks that resembled the waves of an interminable 
sea. The soldiers, he says, fainted with the heat and 
with the drought, while the audacious Osrhoene scoffed 
at their complaints and reproaches, asking them 
whether they expected to find the border-tract between 
Arabia and Assyria a country of cool streams and 

1 They are called 'a vast number' | into the field against Antony 
(7r\f,fJo<; iroki, Plut. Crass. § 23), I (Justin, xli. 2, § 6). 
and 1 'an immense body' icopue ( 2 Dio Cass. xl. 21. 
immanes, Veil. Pat. ii. 46). The ' 3 Plut. Crass. § 22. 

Parthians brought 50,000 horse ! 

Cn. XL] 



shady groves, of baths and hostclries, like their own 
delicious Campania. But our knowledge of the geogra- 
phical character of the region through which the march 
lay makes it impossible for us to accept this account as 
true. 1 The country between the Euphrates and the 
Belik, as already observed, is one of alternate hill and 
plain, neither destitute of trees nor ill-provided with 
water. The march through it could have presented 
no great difficulties. All that Abgarus could do to 
serve the Parthian cause was, first, to induce Crassus 
to trust himself to the open country, without clinging 
either to a river or to the mountains, and, secondly, to 
bring him, after a hasty march, and in the full heat of 
the day, into the presence of the enemy. Both these 
things he contrived to effect, and Surenas was, no 
doubt, so far beholden to him. But the notion that 
he enticed the Eoman army into a trackless desert, 
and gave it over, when it was perishing through 
weariness, hunger, and thirst, into the hands of its 
enraged enemy, 2 is in contradiction with the topo- 
graphical facts, and is not even maintained consistently 
by the classical writers. 3 

It was probably on the third or fourth clay after 
he had quitted the Euphrates, 4 that Crassus found 

1 The arguments of Dean Meri- 
vale are conclusive {Roman Empire, 
vol. ii. pp. 18, 19) ; but lie some- 
what mars their effect by suggesting 
that Plutarch may have confounded 
the Belik with the Khabour, and 
that the battle may have really been 
fought on the latter stream. The 
general tradition that the scene of 
the fight was near Carrhae, and the 
special mention of Ichnse as also in 
the neighbourhood (Plut. Crass. 
§ 25), make it certain that the scene 
is rightly placed on the Belik, since 
both those cities were on that river. 

2 SeeMommsen, Rom. Geschic/tte, 
vol. iii. p. 327. This writer shows 
no knowledge of the real character 
of the country. 

3 Dio has no mention of sands or 
deserts. On the contrary, he makes 
the scene of the battle hilly ground, 
partly covered with trees (xl. 21). 

4 The direct distance from Zeu- 
gma to the probable scene of the 
engagement (half-way between 
Carrhre and Ichnce) is less than 
eighty miles. The army, however, 
did not take this line, but marched 
at first along the left bank of the 

m 2 


himself approaching his enemy. After a hasty and 
hot march * lie had approached the banks of the 
Belik, when his scouts brought him word that they 
had fallen in with the Parthian army, which was 
advancing in force and seemingly full of confidence. 
Abgarus had recently quitted him on the plea of 
doing him some undefined service, but really to range 
himself on the side of his real friends, the Parthians. 2 
His officers now advised Crassus to encamp upon 
the river, and defer an engagement till the morrow ; 
but he had no fears ; his son, Publius, who had lately 
joined him with a body of Gallic horse sent by Julius 
Cassar, was anxious for the fray ; and accordingly the 
Eoman commander gave the order to his troops to 
take some refreshment as they stood, and then to 
push forward rapidly. 3 Surenas, on his side, had 
taken up a position on wooded and hilly ground, 
which concealed his numbers, 4 and had even, we are 
told, made his troops cover their arms with cloths and 
skins, 5 that the glitter might not betray them. But, 
as the Eomans drew near, all concealment was cast 
aside ; the signal for battle was given ; the clang 
of the kettledrums arose on every side ; the squadrons 
came forward in their brilliant array ; and it seemed 
at first as if the heavy cavalry was about to charge the 
Eoman host, 6 which was formed in a hollow square 
with the light-armed in the middle, and with supports 

Euphrates. From the nearest bend i their rear while the Parthians at- 
of the Euphrates to the scene of i tacked in front. (Dio Cass. xl. 23.) 
action is less than fifty miles. 3 Plut. Crass. § 23. 

1 Plut. Crass. § 23; Dio Cass. ; 4 Dio Cass. xl. 21. T H re x ^P a 
xl. 23. dvufxaXog ttj; y}?' icni c'tvcpa tlx.iv. 

2 Plut. Crass, p. 22, ad Jin. This i 5 Plut. Crass, l.s.c. 

account is more probable than that j 6 So Plut. (Crass. § 24). But it 
of Dio, that he remained with the may be doubted if the intention 
Eomans till after the death of the ! really existed. 
young Crassus, nnd then fell upon j 


of horse along the whole line, as well as upon the 
flanks. 1 But, if this intention was ever entertained, 
it was altered almost as soon as formed, and the better 
plan was adopted of halting at a convenient distance 
and assailing the legionaries with flight after flight 
of arrows, delivered without a pause and with extra- 
ordinary force. The Boman endeavoured to meet 
this attack by throwing forward his own skirmishers ; 
but they were quite unable to cope with the numbers 
and the superior weapons of the enemy, who forced 
them almost immediately to retreat, and take refuge 
behind the line of the heavy-armed. 2 These were 
then once more exposed to the deadly missiles, which 
pierced alike through shield and breast-plate and 
greaves, and inflicted the most fearful wounds. More 
than once the legionaries dashed forward, and sought 
to close with their assailants, but in vain. The Par- 
thian squadrons retired as the Boman infantry advanced, 
maintaining the distance which they thought best be- 
tween themselves and their foe, whom they plied 
with their shafts as incessantly while they fell back 
as when they rode forward. For a while the Bomans 
entertained the hope that the missiles would at last be 
all spent ; 3 but when they found that each archer 
constantly obtained a fresh supply from the rear, this 
expectation deserted them. It became evident to 
Crassus that some new movement must be attempted ; 
and, as a last resource, he commanded his son, Publins, 
whom the Parthians were threatening to outflank, 
to take such troops as he thought proper, and charge. 
The gallant youth was only too glad to receive the 
order. Selecting his Gallic cavalry, who numbered 

1 Plut. Crass. § 23. 3 Ibid. § 25. Compare Lucan, 

2 Ibid. § 24. Phars. viii. 386-387. 


1,000, and adding to them 500 other horsemen, 500 
archers, and about 4,000 legionaries, 1 he advanced 
at speed against the nearest squadrons of the enemy. 
The Parthians pretended to be afraid, and beat a 
hasty retreat. Publius followed with all the im- 
petuosity of youth, and was soon out of the sight 
of his friends, pressing the flying foe, whom he 
believed to be panic-stricken. But when they had 
drawn him on sufficiently, they suddenly made a stand, 
brought their heavy cavalry up against his line, and 
completely enveloped him and his detachment with 
their light- armed. Publius made a desperate resistance. 
His Gauls seized the Parthian pikes with their hands 
and dragged the encumbered horsemen to the ground ; 
or dismounting, slipped beneath the horses of their 
opponents, and stabbing them in the belly, brought 
steed and rider down upon themselves. His legionaries 
occupied a slight hillock, and endeavoured to make 
a wall of their shields, but the Parthian archers closed 
around them, and slew them almost to a man. Of 
the whole detachment, nearly six thousand strong, no 
more than 500 were taken prisoners, 2 and scarcely 
one escaped. The young Crassus might, possibly, had 
he chosen to make the attempt, have forced his way 
through the enemy to Ichnaj, a Greek town not far 
distant ; 3 but he preferred to share the fate of his 
men. Bather than fall into the hands of the enemy, 
he caused his shield-bearer to despatch him ; and his 
example was followed by his principal officers. The 
victors struck off his head, and elevating it on a pike, 

1 ' Eight cohorts' (Plutarch) 
would be about this number. 

2 Dio says that not a single 
prisoner was taken on the first day 

(xl. 24) ; but Plutarch allows the I ad loc. 

capture of 500 (Crass. § 25, adjin.). 

3 On the position of Ichnse, see 

Is. Char. Mans. Parth. § 1 ; and 

compare Mons. C. Miiller's note 


returned to resume their attack on the main body 
of the Roman army. 

The main body, much relieved by the diminution of 
the pressure upon them, had waited patiently for Pub- 
lius to return in triumph, regarding the battle as well 
nigh over and success as certain. After a time, the 
prolonged absence of the young captain aroused suspi- 
cions, which grew into alarms when messengers arrived 
telling of his extreme danger. 1 Crassus, almost beside 
himself with anxiety, had given the word to advance, 
and the army had moved forward a short distance, 
when the shouts of the returning enemy were heard, 
and the head of the unfortunate officer was seen dis- 
played aloft, while the Parthian squadrons, closing in 
once more, renewed the assault on their remaining foes 
with increased vigour. The mailed horsemen approached 
close to the legionaries and thrust at them with their 
long pikes, 2 while the light-armed, galloping across the 
Eoman front, discharged their unerring arrows over the 
heads of their own men. The Eomans could neither 
successfully defend themselves, nor effectively retaliate. 
Still time brought some relief. Bowstrings broke, 
spears were blunted or splintered, arrows began to fail, 
thews and sinews to relax ; 3 and when night closed in 
both parties were almost equally glad of the cessation 
•of arms which the darkness rendered compulsory. 

It was the custom of the Parthians, as of the Per- 
sians, 4 to bivouack at a considerable distance from an 

1 Plut. Crass. $ 2G. 

2 Plut.Ofl«8. §27; Dio Cass.xl.22. 

3 Dio Cass. xl. 24. o'<! re kovtoI 

tuiv fiap/Sapujv oi fi'ev direarpd^rjaavy 
oi ct tKXdaOrjcraVf icai at vtvpal . . . 
ippayvriav' to. rt (5sX>j i%,iTo'£ivtir}, 

ovteij ti,iKap.ov. 

4 On the Persian practice, see 
Ancient Monarchies, vol. iii. p. 191, 
2nd edit. Fear of a night attack, 
and the difficulty of unfastening 
and caparisoning their horses in a 

koX to. %i(pr] itavra. uitT)p.$\uvtir\' to j hurry, were at the root of the 
T£ {JityicrTov, oi dvcptq avroi 4>ovey- \ custom. 


enemy. Accordingly, at nightfall they drew off, having 
first shouted to the Romans that they would grant the 
general one night in which to bewail his son ; on the 
morrow they would come and take him prisoner, unless 
he preferred the better course of surrendering himself 
to the mercy of Arsaces. 1 A short breathing-space was 
thus allowed the Eomans, who took advantage of it to 
retire towards Carrhae, leaving behind them the greater 
part of their wounded, to the number of 4,000. A 
small body of horse reached Carrhse about midnight, 
and gave the commandant such information as led him 
to put his men under arms and issue forth to the suc- 
cour of the proconsul. The Parthians, though the 
cries of the wounded made them well aware of the 
Roman retreat, adhered to their system of avoiding 
night combats, and attempted no pursuit till morning. 2 
Even then they allowed themselves to be delayed bj 
comparatively trivial matters — the capture of the 
Roman camp, the massacre of the wounded, and the 
slaughter of the numerous stragglers scattered along 
the line of march — and made no haste to overtake the 
retreating army. The bulk of the troops were thus 
enabled to effect their retreat in safety to Carrha?, 
where, having the protection of walls, they were, at 
any rate for a time, secure. 

It might have been expected that the Romans would 
here have made a stand. The siege of a fortified place 

1 Pint. Crass, l.s.c. i r&v icokipltov') — and has made the 

2 So Plutarch (§ 28). Oi HapQot, | Parthians start in pursuit, but soon 
vvKTog fxkv aloQafiivni n)v dw6Spaoiv } give up the attempt, because 'their 
oi'K idiuiKov. Dean Merivale has, horses, after a long day's service, 
I think, misunderstood a somewhat were unable to keep pace with the 
obscure passage in the preceding headlong rush of desperate men.' 
section — where the retreating army This is not very probable, and it is 
is said to have thought the enemy j certainly not contained in the au- 
"was upon them (wg t7ri(pf pop's i>u>v j thorities. 



by cavalry is ridiculous, if we understand by siege 
anything more than a very incomplete blockade. And 
the Parthians were notoriously inefficient against walls. 1 
There was a chance, moreover, that Artavasdes might 
have been more successful than his ally, and having 
repulsed the Parthian monarch, might march his troops 
to the relief of the Romans. But the soldiers were 
thoroughly dispirited, and would not listen to these 
suggestions. 2 Provisions no doubt ran short, since, as 
there had been no expectation of a disaster, no prepa- 
rations had been made for standing a siege. The Greek 
inhabitants of the place could not be trusted to exhibit 
fidelity to a falling cause. Moreover, Armenia was 
near ; and the Parthian system of abstaining from 
action during the night seemed to render escape toler- 
ably easy. It was resolved, therefore, instead of clinging 
to the protection of the walls, to issue forth once more, 
and to endeavour by a rapid night march to reach the 
Armenian hills. The various officers seem to have 
been allowed to arrange matters for themselves. Cas- 
sius took his way towards the Euphrates, and succeeded 
in escaping with 500 horse. Octavius, with a division 
which is estimated at 5,000 men, reached the outskirts 
of the hills at a place called Sinnaca, 3 and found him- 
self in comparative security. Crassus, misled by his 
guides, made but poor progress during the night ; he 
had, however, arrived within little more than a mile of 

1 See Lucan, Pharsalia, viii. 377- 

379:— m 

c Non aries illis, non ulla est ma- 
china belli : 

Haud fossas implere Talent ; Par- 
thoque sequente 

Murus erit, quodcunque potest 
obstare sagittffl.' 

Compare Tacit. Ann. xv. 4. 

2 Plut. Crass. § 29. 

3 I do not understand why Dr. 
Mommsen speaks of Sinnaca as a 
'fort' (Festung, vol. iii. p. 330). 
Plutarch seems to regard it as a 
mere hill (note the expression dXXov 

Xowoi', it-oKtl/itvnv Toit; "En'rciKOig^ ; 

and Strabo only calls it a ' place ' 
(xwpi'or, xvi. 1, §23). 

170 tin: SIXTH MONARCHY. [Cn. XL 

Octavius before the enemy, who would not stir till day- 
break, overtook him. Pressed upon by their advancing 
squadrons, he, with his small hand of 2,000 legionaries 
and a few horsemen, occupied a low hillock connected 
by a ridge of rising ground with the position of Sinnaca. 
Here the Parthian host beset him ; and he would infallibly 
have been slain or captured at once, had not Octavius, 
deserting his place of safety, descended to the aid of 
his commander. The united 7,000 held their own 
against the enemy, having the advantage of the ground, 
and having perhaps by the experience of some days 
learnt the weak points of Parthian warfare. 

Surenas was anxious, above all things, to secure the 
person of the Eoman commander. In the East an 
excessive importance is attached to this proof of success ; 
and there were reasons which made Crassus particularly 
obnoxious to his antagonists. He was believed to have 
originated, and not merely conducted, the war, incited 
thereto by simple greed of gold. 1 He had refused 
with the utmost haughtiness all discussion of terms, and 
had insulted the majesty of the Parthians by the decla- 
ration that he would treat nowhere but at their capital. 
If he escaped, he would be bound at some future time 
to repeat his attempt ; if he were made prisoner, his 
fate would be a terrible warning to others. But now, 
as evening approached, it seemed to the Parthian that 
the prize which he so much desired was about to 
elude his grasp. The highlands of Armenia would be 
gained by the fugitives during the night, and further 
pursuit of them would be hopeless. It remained that 
he should effect by craft what he could no longer hope 
to gain by the employment of force ; and to this point 

1 See above, p. 154. 



i all his efforts were now directed. He drew off his 
troops and left the Romans without further molestation. 
He allowed some of his prisoners to escape and rejoin 
their friends, having first contrived that they should over- 
hear a conversation among his men, of which the theme 
was the Parthian clemency, and the wish of Orodes to 
come to terms with the Romans. He then, having 
allowed time for the report of his pacific intentions to 
spread, rode with a few chiefs towards the Roman 
camp, carrying his bow unstrung and his right hand 
stretched out in token of amity. c Let the Roman 
general,' he said, ' come forward with an equal number 
of attendants, and confer with me in the open space 
between the armies on terms of peace.' The aged pro- 
consul was disinclined to trust these overtures ; but his 
men clamoured and threatened, upon which he yielded, 
and went down into the plain, accompanied by Octa- 
vius and a few others. Here he was received with 
apparent honour, and terms were arranged ; but Sure- 
nas required that they should at once be reduced to 
writing, ' since,' he said, with pointed allusion to the 
bad faith of Pompey, ' you Romans are not very apt 
to remember your engagements.' A movement being 
requisite for the drawing up of the formal instruments, 
Crassus and his officers were induced to mount upon 
horses furnished by the Parthians, who had no sooner 
seated the proconsul on his steed, than they proceeded to 
hurry him forward, with the evident intention of carry- 
ing him off to their camp. 1 The Roman officers took 
the alarm and resisted. Octavius snatched a sword 

1 Mommsen seems to doubt 
whether the Parthians really in- 
tended any treachery (Geschichte, 
vol. iii. p. 330). But the Romans 
can scarcely have been mistaken 

upon the point. Such treachery 
has been constant in the East from 
the time of the Ten Thousand to 
the Aftghan war of 1841. 


from a Parthian and killed one of the grooms who was 
hurrying Crassus away. A blow from behind stretched 
him on the ground lifeless. A general melee followed, 
and in the confusion Crassus was killed, whether by 
one of his own side and with his own consent, or by the 
hand of a Parthian, is uncertain. 1 The army, learning 
the fate of their general, with but few exceptions, 
surrendered. Such as sought to escape under cover 
of the approaching night were hunted down by the 
Bedouins who served under the Parthian standard, and 
killed almost to a man. Of the entire army which had 
crossed the Euphrates, consisting of above 40,000 men, 
not more than a fourth returned. One half of the 
whole number perished. 2 Nearly 10,000 prisoners 
were settled by the victors in the fertile oasis of Mar- 
giana, 3 near the northern frontier of the empire, where 
they intermarried with native wives, 4 and became sub- 
missive Parthian subjects. 5 

Such was the result of this great expedition, the first 
attempt of the grasping and ambitious Eomans, not so 
much to conquer Parthia, as to strike terror into the 
heart of her people, and to degrade them to the condi- 
tion of obsequious dependants on the will and pleasure 
of the ' world's lords.' 6 The expedition failed so 
utterly, not from any want of bravery on the part of 
the soldiers employed in it, nor from any absolute 
superiority of the Parthian over the Eoman tactics, 
but partly from the incompetence of the commander, 

Plutarch makes him killed by ' Horace (Od. iii. 5, 5) : — 
a Parthian named Pomaxa^thres, ; ' Milesne Crassi conjuge barbara' 

but confesses that the exact truth 
was not known (Crass. § 31). Dio 
gives both accounts (xl. 27). 


5 The Roman captives served as 
soldiers in the Parthian armies 

2 Plut. Crass. § 31, ad Jin. (Veil. Pat. ii. 82 ; Florus, iv. 10). 

3 Plin. H. N. vi. 1G. 6 ' Romanos rerum dominos 

4 See the well-known passage of ! (Virg. A\n. i. 282). 


partly from the inexperience of the Eomans, up to this 
date, in the nature of the Parthian warfare and in the 
best manner of meeting it. To attack an enemy whose 
main arm is the cavalry with a body of foot-soldiers, 
supported by an insignificant number of horse, must be 
at all times rash and dangerous. To direct such an 
attack on the more open part of the country, where 
cavalry could operate freely, was wantonly to aggravate 
the peril. After the first disaster, to quit the protec- 
tion of walls, when it had been obtained, was a piece 
of reckless folly. Had Crassus taken care to obtain the 
support of some of the desert tribes, 1 if Armenia could 
not help him, and had he then advanced either by the 
way of the Mons Masius and the Tigris, or along the 
line of the Euphrates, the issue of his attack might 
have been different. He might have fought his way to 
Seleucia and Ctesiphon, as did Trajan, Avidius Cassius, 
and Septimius Severus, and might have taken and plun- 
dered those cities. He would no doubt have experienced 
difficulties in his retreat ; but he might have come off 
no worse than Trajan, whose Parthian expedition has 
been generally regarded as rather augmenting than 
detracting from his reputation. But an ignorant and 
inexperienced commander, venturing on a trial of arms 
with an enemy of whom he knew little or nothing, in 
their own country, without supports or allies, and then 
neglecting every precaution suggested by his officers, 
allowing himself to be deceived by a pretended friend, 
and marching straight into a net prepared for him, 
naturally suffered defeat. The credit of the Eoman 
arms does not greatly suffer by the disaster, nor is that 
of the Parthians greatly enhanced. The latter showed, 

As Julian did (Aram. Marc, xxiii. 5). 



[Cn. XL 

as the)' had shown in their wars against the Syro- 
Macedonians, that their somewhat loose and irregular 

array was capable of acting with effect against the solid 
masses and well-ordered movements of disciplined 
troops. They acquired by their use of the bow a fame 
like that which the English archers obtained for the 
employment of the same weapon at Crecy and Agin- 
court. They forced the arrogant Romans to respect 
them, and to allow that there was at least one nation 
in the world which could meet them on equal terms 
and not be worsted in the encounter. 1 They henceforth 
obtained recognition from the Grasco-Eoman writers — 
albeit a grudging and covert recognition — as the second 
Power in the world, the admitted rival of Eome, 2 the 
only real counterpoise upon the earth to the power 
which ruled from the Euphrates to the Atlantic Ocean. 
While the general of King Or odes was thus successful 
against the Romans in Mesopotamia, the king himself 
had in Armenia obtained advantages of almost equal 
value, though of a different kind. Instead of contend- 
ing with Artavasdes, he had come to terms with him, 
and had concluded a close alliance, which he had sought 
to confirm and secure by uniting his son, Pacorus, in 
marriage with a sister of the Armenian monarch. 3 A 
series of festivities was being held to celebrate this 
auspicious event, when news came of Surenas' triumph, 
and of the fate of Crassus. According to the barbarous 
customs of the East, the head and hand of the slain 

1 See Justin, xli. 1, § 7 :— 
'Parthi, a Romania trims bellis, 
per maxiinos duces florentissimis 
temporibus lacessiti, soli ex omnibus 
gentibus non pares solum, verum 
etiam victor es fuere.' And Die- (xl. 

14) : — TlKwrihvTtQ Ct, iirl tooovto kcii 
t?iq cu£i]Q Kcd r?ig dwdfiODQ ix^pt)(T(ir, 

lorrre K<u roiQ roj/natoig Tort avri- 
7roXtjtir)<rai, kcii titvpo ciei civ r t- 
rra\ ot vofit^ecrOat. 

2 Compare, besides the passages 
above quoted, Strab. xi. 9, § 2; 
Plin. II. N. v. 25 ; and Herodian, 
iv. 18. 

3 Pint. Crass. § 33. 


proconsul accompanied the intelligence. We are told 
that at the moment of the messengers' arrival the 
two sovereigns, with their attendants, were amusing 
themselves with a dramatic entertainment. Both mon- 
arch s had a <*ood knowledge of the Greek literature 
and language, in which Artavasdes had himself com- 
posed historical works and tragedies. The actors were 
representing the famous scene in the 6 Bacchse ' of Euri- 
pides, 1 where Agave and the Bacchanals come upon 
the stage with the mutilated remains of the murdered 
Pentheus, when the head of Crassus was thrown in 
among them. Instantly the player who personated 
Agave* seized the bloody trophy, and, placing it on his 
thyrsus instead of the one he was carrying, paraded 
it before the delighted spectators, while he chanted the 
ay ell-known lines : — 2 

From the mountain to the hall 
New-cut tendril, see, we bring — ■ 
Blessed prey ! 

The horrible spectacle was one well suited to please an 
Eastern audience : it was followed by a proceeding of 
equal barbarity and still more thoroughly Oriental. 3 
The Parthians, in derision of the motive which was 
supposed to have led Crassus to make his attack, had a 
quantity of gold melted and poured it into his mouth. 4 
Meanwhile Surenas was amusing his victorious troops, 
and seeking to annoy the disaffected Seleucians, by the 

1 Eurip. Bacch. 11G9-1200 (ed. 

2 Ibid. 1170-1172 :— 

and for more exact parallels see 
Appian, Mithridat. p. 184, C ; and 
Mich. Pala3ol. ii. 24. 

* So Florus (iii. 11, § 11) and 

Dio (xl. 27). Plutarch omits the 

circumstance ; but I think, with 

, , Dean Merivale, that there is no 

Compare the proceedmgs of j reason wh we should disbe i ieve 

Tomyrrs with the head of Cyrus, it (Roman Empire, vol. ii. p. 2G.) 
as related in Herodotus, i. 214 J | 

tXlKIl VtUTO^lOV kWl fliXni 

(tmcapiav 0>)pav. 


performance of a farcical ceremony. He spread the 

report thai Crassus was not killed but captured ; and, 

selecting from among the prisoners the Eoman most 

like him in appearance, he dressed the man in woman's 

dollies, mounted him upon a horse, and requiring him 

to answer to the names of c Crassus ' and ' Imperator,' 

conducted him in triumph to the Grecian city. Before 

him went, mounted on camels, a band, arrayed as 

trumpeters and lictors, the lictors' rods having purses 

suspended to them, and the axes in their midst being 

crowned with the bleeding heads of Eomans. In the 

rear followed a train of Seleucian music-girls, who sang 

songs derisive of the effeminacy and cowardice of the 

proconsul. After this pretended parade of his prisoner 

through the streets of the town, Surenas called a meeting 

of the Seleucian senate, and indignantly denounced to 

them the indecency of the literature which he had 

found in the Eoman tents. The charge, it is said, was 

true ; x but the Seleucians were not greatly impressed 

by the moral lesson read to them, when they remarked 

the train of concubines that had accompanied Surenas 

himself in the field, and thought of the loose crowd of 

dancers, singers, and prostitutes, that was commonly to 

be seen in the rear of a Parthian army. 

The political consequences of the great triumph 
which the Parthians had achieved were less than might 
have been anticipated. Mesopotamia was, of course, 
recovered to its extremest limit, the Euphrates ; Ar- 
menia was lost to the Eoman alliance, and thrown for 
the time into complete dependence upon Parthia. The 
whole East was, to some extent, excited ; and the Jews, 
always impatient of a foreign yoke, and recently 
aggrieved by the unprovoked spoliation of their Temple 

1 Pint. Crass. § o2. Ovtoi Taurd yz. Kcircfipivaaixsvoc. 


by Crassus, flew to arms. 1 But no general movement 
of the Oriental races took place. It might have been 
expected that the Syrians, Phoenicians, Cilicians, Cappa- 
docians, Phrygians, and other Asiatic peoples whose 
proclivities were altogether Oriental, would have seized 
the opportunity of rising against their Western lords 
and driving the Eomans back upon Europe. It might 
have been thought that Parthia at least would have 
assumed the offensive in force, and have made a de- 
termined effort to rid herself of neighbours who had 
proved so troublesome. But though the conjuncture 
of circumstances was most favourable, the man was 
wanting. Had Mi thri dates or Tigranes been living, or 
had Surenas been king of Parthia, instead of a mere 
general, advantage would probably have been taken of 
the occasion, and Eome might have suffered seriously. 
But Orodes seems to have been neither ambitious as a 
prince nor skilful as a commander ; he lacked at any 
rate the keen and all-embracing glance which could 
sweep the political horizon and, comprehending the 
exact character of the situation, see at the same time 
how to make the most of it. He allowed the opportu- 
nity to slip by without putting forth his strength or 
making any considerable effort ; and the occasion once 
lost never returned. 

In Parthia itself one immediate result of the expedi- 
tion seems to have been the ruin of Surenas. His 
services to his sovereign had exceeded the measure 
which it is safe in the East for a subject to render to 
the crown. The jealousy of his royal master was 
aroused, and he had to pay the penalty of over-much 
success with his life. 2 Parthia was thus left without a 

Josephus, Ant. Jud, xiv. 7, § 3. | 2 Plut. Crass. § 33. 


general of approved merit, for Sillaces, the second in 
command during the war with Crassus, 1 had in no way 
distinguished himself through the campaign. This con- 
dition of tilings may account for the feebleness of the 
efforts made in B.C. 52, to retaliate on the Eomans the 
damage done by their invasion. A few weak bands 
only passed the Euphrates, and began the work of 
plunder and ravage, in which they were speedily dis- 
turbed by Cassius, who easily drove them back over the 
river. 2 The next year, however, a more determined 
nttempt was made. Orodes sent his son, Pacorus, the 
young bridegroom, to win his spurs in Syria, at the 
head of a considerable force, and supported by the 
experience and authority of an officer of ripe age, 
named Osaces. 3 The army crossed the Euphrates 
unresisted, for Cassius, the governor, had with him only 
the broken remains of Crassus's army, consisting of 
about two legions, and, deeming himself too weak to 
meet the enemy in the open field, was content to 
defend the towns. The open country was consequently 
overrun ; and a thrill of mingled alarm and excitement 
passed through all the Eoman provinces in Asia. 4 The 
provinces were at the time most inadequately supplied 
with Eoman troops, 5 through the desire of Csesar and 
Pompey to maintain large armies about their own per- 
sons. The natives were for the most part disaffected, 
and inclined to hail the Parthians as brethren and 
deliverers. 6 Excepting Deiotarus of Galatia, and Ario- 

1 Plut. Crass. § 21. Compare 
Dio Cass. xl. 12 ; Oros. vi. 13. 

2 Dio Cass. xl. 28. 

3 Ibid. Compare Cic. JEp. ad 
Att. v. 18, 20 ; ad Div. xv. 1 ; &c. 

4 See, on this point, the interest- 
ing despatch of Cicero to the 

Roman Senate (Dp. ad Div. xv. 1). 

5 See the complaints of Cicero in 
the despatch above referred to ; and 
note that Cicero himself had for his 
large province not two complete 
legions (Dp. ad Div. iii. 6). 

6 Dio Cass. xl. 28, ad Jin. Tdy 


barzanes of Cappadocia, Eome had, as Cicero (then 
proconsul of Cilicia) plaintively declared, 1 not a friend 
on the Asiatic continent. And Cappadocia was miser- 
ably weak, 2 and open to attack on the side of Armenia. 
Had Orodes and Artavasdes acted in concert, and had 
the latter, while Orodes sent his armies into Syria, 
poured the Armenian forces into Cappadocia and then 
into Cilicia (as it was expected that he would do), r> 
there would have been the greatest danger to the 
Roman possessions. As it was, the excitement in Asia 
Minor was extreme. Cicero marched into Cappadocia 
with the bulk of the Roman troops, and summoned to 
his aid Deiotarus with his Galatians, 4 at the same time 
writing to the Roman Senate to implore reinforcements. 5 
Cassius shut himself up in Antioch, 6 and allowed the 
Parthian cavalry to pass him by, and even to proceed 
beyond the bounds of Syria into Cilicia. 7 But the Par- 
thians seem scarcely to have understood the situation 
of their adversaries, or to have been aware of their own 
advantages. Instead of spreading themselves wide, 
raising the natives, and leaving them to blockade the 
towns, while with their as yet unconquered squadrons 
they defied the enemy in the open country, we find 
them engaging in the siege and blockade of cities, for 
which they were wholly unfit, and confining themselves 

iijfiojv ry ts 'Pujfiaiojv Sernrortla 
a^0o/t?i'wr ? icai Trpbg avrovg (i : e. roi)Q 
TlapOovc^, are /cat ysi-ovag Kai avvi}- 
OeiQ a^iuiv ovrac, d7rnK\iv6vT(t)v. 

1 Cic. Ep. ad Div. xv. 1. 

2 ' Cappadocia est inanis.' (Cic. 

3 Cic. Ep. ad Div. xv. 3; ad 

exercitum tantuni quantum ad 
maximuui bellum mittere voletis, 
mature in has provincias miseritis, 
summum periculum sit, ne amit- 
tendre sint omnes hae provincias.' 

6 Dio Cass. xl. 29; Cic. Ep. ad 
Att. v. 20. 

7 Cicero tells us that his cavalry 

Att. v. 20. defeated a Parthian detachment 

4 Ep. ad Div. xv. 4. j within the limits of Cilicia (fin ad 

5 Ibid. xv. 1. ' Hoc autem tern- Div. xv. 4). 
pore res sese ita habet, ut, nisi 

n 2 


almost entirely to the narrow valley of the Orontes. 1 
Under these circumstances we are not surprised to learn 
that Cassius, having first beat them back from Antioch, 2 
contrived to lead them into an ambush on the banks 
of the river, and severely handled their troops, even 
killing the general Osaces. 3 The Parthians withdrew 
from the neighbourhood of the Syrian capital after this 
defeat, which must have taken place about the end of 
September, and soon afterwards went into winter quar- 
ters in Cyrrhestica, 4 or the part of Syria immediately 
east of Amanus. Here they remained during the winter 
months under Pacorus, and it was expected that the 
war would break out again with fresh fury in the 
spring ; 5 but Bibulus, the new proconsul of Syria, con- 
scious of his military deficiencies, contrived to sow 
dissensions among the Parthians themselves, and to turn 
the thoughts of Pacorus in another direction. He sug- 
gested to Ornodapantes, a Parthian noble, with whom 
he had managed to open a correspondence, that Paco- 
rus would be a more worthy occupant of the Parthian 
throne than his father, and that he would consult well 
for his own interests, if he were to proclaim the young 
prince, and lead the army of Syria against Orodes. G 
These intrigues seem to have first caused the war to 
languish, and then produced the recall of the expedi- 
tion. Orodes summoned Pacorus to return to Parthia 
before the plot contrived between him and the Eomans 
was ripe for execution ; and Pacorus felt that no course 
was open to him but to obey. 7 The Parthian legions 

1 Dio Cass. xl. 29. mum bellum impendet.' Compare 

~ Ibid. KaacLog laxvpioQ uvtoiuj aclAtt. vi. 1 (p. Ola); cidDiv. ii. 10. 
dTrtKpovrrciTO. 6 Dio Cass. xl. 30. 

3 Ibid. Compare Cic. Ep. ad \ 7 Justin, xlii. 4, § 5. The time 
Att. v. 20 ; ad Div. ii. 10. I of the recall is misplaced by Justin, 

4 Cic. Ep. ad Att. v. 21 ; vi. 1. but the fact may be accepted on his 

5 Cic. Ep. ad Att. v. 21 : ' Maxi- | authority. 


recrossed the Euphrates in July, B.C. 50 ; and the 
First Roman War, which had lasted a little more 
than four years, terminated without any real recovery 
by the Romans of the laurels that they had lost at 



Relations of Orodes tvith Pompey, and icith Brutus and Cassius. Second' 
War with Rome. Great Parthian Expedition against Syria, Palestine, 
and Asia Minor. Defeat of Saxa. Occupation of Antioch and Jeru- 
salem. Parthians driven out of Syria by Ventidius. Death of Pacorus. 
Death of Orodes. 

1 Jam bis Monseses et Pacori maims 
Non auspicates contudit impetus 
Nostros, et adjecisse prsedam 
Torquibus exiguis renidet.' — Hor. Od. iii. 6, 10-13. 

The civil troubles that had seemed to threaten Parthia 
from the ambition of the youthful Pacorus passed away 
without any explosion. The son showed his obedience 
by returning home submissively when he might have 
flown to arms ; and the father accepted the act of 
obedience as a sufficient indication that no rebellion 
had been seriously meant. We find Pacorus not only 
allowed to live, but again entrusted a few years later 
with high office by the Parthian monarch ; * and on this 
occasion we find him showing no signs of disaffection 
or discontent. 

Nine years, however, elapsed between the recall of 
the young prince and his reappointment to the supreme 
command against the Romans. Of the internal condi- 
tion of Parthia during this interval we have no account. 
Apparently, Orodes ruled quietly and peaceably, con- 

1 See below, p. 187. It appears 
from several coins of Orodes, which 
bear the legend BAZIAES2V BA2I- 
Pacorus was associated \>y his 

father in the government during I PI. 3, nos. 49 and 50. 
the later years of his reign. Hence 

he is correctly called 'king' by 
Livy {Epit. cxxviii.), Justin (xlii. 
4, § 10), and Tacitus {Hist. v. 9). 
See upon these coins Lindsay, 
History and Coinage of the Par- 
thians, pp. 147, 148, and compare 

Ch. xil] relations of orodes with pompei 


tenting himself with the glory which he had gained, 
and not anxious to tempt fortune by engaging in any 
fresh enterprise. It was no doubt a satisfaction to him 
to see the arms of the Komans, instead of being directed 
upon Asia, employed in intestine strife ; and we can 
well understand that lie might even deem it for his 
interest to foment and encourage the quarrels which, 
at any rate for the time, secured his own empire from 
attack. It appears that communications took place in 
the year B.C. 49 or 48, between him and Pompey, a 
request for alliance being made by the latter, and an 
answer being sent by Orodes, containing the terms upon 
which he would consent to give Pompey effective aid 
in the war. 1 If the Eoman leader would deliver into 
his hands the province of Syria and make it wholly over 
to the Parthians, Orodes would conclude an alliance 
with him and send help ; but not otherwise. It is to 
the credit of Pompey that he rejected these terms, and 
declined to secure his own private gain by depriving 
his country of a province. Notwithstanding the failure 
of these negotiations and the imprisonment of his 
envoy Hirrus, 2 when a few months later, having lost 
the battle of Pharsalia, the unhappy Eoman was in 
need of a refuge from his great enemy, he is said to 
have proposed throwing himself on the friendship, 
or mercy, of Orodes. 3 He had hopes, perhaps, of 
enlisting the Parthian battalions in his cause, and of 
recovering power by means of this foreign aid. But his 
friends combated his design, and persuaded him that the 
risk, both to himself and to his wife, Cornelia, was too 

1 Dio Cass. xli. 55. Compare 
Justin, xlii. 4, § G (which, however, 
is an over-statement) and Cass. 
Bell. Civ. iii. 82. 

2 Dio Cass. xlii. 2. 

3 Plut. Pomp. § 76; Appian, 
Bell. Civ. ii. p. 480, A ; Veil. Pat. 
ii. 53. Dio questions the truth of 
the report, (l.s.c.) 



[Cn. XII. 

great to be compatible with prudence. Pompey yielded 
to their representations ; and Orodes escaped the diffi- 
culty of having to elect between repulsing a suppliant, 
and provoking the hostility of the most powerful chief- 
tain and the greatest general of the age. 

Cajsar quitted the East, in B.C. 47, without entering 
into any communication with Orodes. He had plenty of 
work upon his hands ; and whatever designs he may 
have even then entertained of punishing the Parthian 
inroad into Syria, or avenging the defeat of Carrhae, 1 
he was wise enough to keep his projects to himself, and 
to leave Asia without exasperating by threats or hostile 
movements the Power on which the peace of the East 
principally depended. It was not until he had brought 
the African and Spanish wars to an end that he allowed 
his intention of leading an expedition against Parthia 
to be openly talked about. In B.C. 44, four years after 
Pharsalia, having put down all his domestic enemies, 
and arranged matters, as he thought, satisfactorily at 
Borne, he let a decree be passed, formally assigning to 
him ' the Parthian War,' 2 and sent the legions across 
the Adriatic on their way to Asia. What plan of 
campaign he may have contemplated is uncertain ; s 
but there cannot be a doubt that an expedition under 
his auspices would have been a most serious danger to 
Parthia, and might have terminated in her subjection. 
The military talents of the Great Dictator were of the 

1 The design is attributed to him 
at this time by Dio, or rather by 
Antony, as reported by Dio (xliv. 

2 Dio Cass, xliii. 51. 

3 Suetonius represents him as 
intending- to enter Parthia by way 
of the Lesser Armenia, and to pro- 
ceed cautiously to try the strength 
of the Parthians before engaging 

them in a battle (Jul. § 44). Plu- 
tarch says that he meant, after 
conquering the Parthians, to pro- 
ceed by the Caspian and the Cau- 
casus into Scythia, from Scythia to 
assail the Germans, and when he 
had overrun Germany, to return 
into Italy by way of Gaul (Jul. 


most splendid description ; his powers of organisation 
and consolidation enormous ; his prudence and caution 
equal to his ambition and his courage. Once launched 
on a career of conquest in the East, it is impossible to 
say whither he might not have carried the Eoman 
eagles, or what countries he might not have added to 
the Empire. But Parthia was saved from the immi- 
nent peril without any effort of her own. The daggers 
of ' the Liberators ' struck down on the 15th of March, 
B.C. 44, the only man whom she had seriously to fear ; 
and with the removal of Julius passed away even from 
Eoman thought for many a year 1 the design which 
he had entertained, and which he alone could have 

In the civil war that followed on the murder of 
Julius, the Parthians are declared to have actually 
taken a part. It appears that — about B.g. 46 — a small 
body of Parthian horse-archers had been sent to the 
assistance of a certain Bassus, 2 a Eoman who amid the 
troubles of the times was seeking to obtain for himself 
something like an independent principality in Syria. 
The soldiers of Bassus, after a while (b.c. 43), went 
over in a body to Cassius, who was in the East collect- 
ing troops for his great struggle with Antony and 
Octavian ; and thus a handful of Parthians came into 
his power. 3 Of this circumstance he determined to 
take advantage, in order to obtain, if possible, a con- 
siderable body of troops from Orodes. He presented 
each of the Parthian soldiers with a sum of money, 
and dismissed them all to their homes, at the same 

1 No attempt was made seriously 
to curtail the Parthian power, much 
less to conquer the Parthian State, 
until the time of Trajan (a.d. 115), 
n hundred and sixty years later. 

Antony's invasion was a mere osten- 
tatious raid without serious object. 

2 Dio Cass, xlvii. 27. 

3 Appian, Bell. Civ. iv. pp. 623, 



[On. XII. 

time seizing the opportunity to send some of his 
own officers, as ambassadors, to Orodes, with a request 
for substantial aid. 1 On receiving this application the 
Parthian monarch appears to have come to the con- 
clusion that it was for his interest to comply with it. 
Whether he made conditions, or no, is uncertain ; but 
he seems to have sent a pretty numerous body of 
horse to the support of the ' Liberators ' against their 
antagonists. 2 Perhaps he trusted to obtain from the 
gratitude of Cassius what he had failed to extort from 
the fears of Pompey. Or, perhaps, he was only 
anxious to prolong the period of civil disturbance 
in the Roman State, which secured his own territory 
from attack, and might ultimately give him an op- 
portunity of helping himself to some portion of the 
Roman dominions in Asia. 

The opportunity seemed to him to have arrived 
in B.C. 40. Philippi had been fought and lost. The 
' Liberators ' were crushed. The struggle between the 
Republicans and the Monarchists had come to an end. 
But, instead of being united, the Roman world was 
more than ever divided ; and the chance of making 
an actual territorial gain at the expense of the tyrant 
power appeared fairer than it had ever been before. 
Three rivals now held divided sway in the Roman 
State; 3 each of them jealous of the other two, and 
anxious for his own aggrandisement. The two chief 
pretenders to the first place were bitterly hostile ; 
and while the one was detained in Italy by insurrec- 

1 Appian, Bell, Giv. iv. p. 625, D, E. 

2 The authorities are not alto- 
gether agreed on this point. Dio 
says (xlviii. 24) that Orodes tem- 
porised, and neither refused the 
overtures of Cassius nor accepted 
them. But Justin distinctly states 

that the Parthians helped Brutus 
and Cassius (xlii. 4, § 7), and 
Appian mentions them thrice among 
the troops who fought at Philippi 
(Bell. Civ. p. G40, C, D). 

3 Octavian, Antony, and Lepidus. 
There was also a fourth, Sext. Pom- 


tion against his authority, the other was plunged in 
luxury and dissipation, enjoying the first delights of a 

lawless passion, at the Egyptian capital. The nations 
of the East were, moreover, alienated by the recent 
exactions of the profligate Triumvir, 1 who, to reward 
his parasites and favourites, had laid upon them a 
burthen that they were scarcely able to bear. Further 
the Parthians enjoyed at this time the advantage ot 
having a Roman officer of good position in then- 
service 2 whose knowledge of the Eoman tactics, and 
influence in Eoman provinces, might be expected to 
turn to their advantage. Under these circumstances, 
when the spring of the year arrived, Antony being 
still in Egypt, and Octavian (as far as was known] 
occupied in the siege of Perusia, 3 the Parthian hordes, 
under Labienus and Pacorus, burst upon Syria in 
greater force than on any previous occasion. Over- 
running with their numerous cavalry the country 
between the Euphrates and Antioch, and thence the 
valley of the Orontes, they had (as usual) some dif- 
ficulty with the towns. From Apamsea, placed (like 
Durham) on a rocky peninsula almost surrounded by 
the river,* they were at first repulsed ; 5 but, having 
shortly afterwards defeated Decidius Saxa, the governor 
of Syria, in the open field, they received the submission 
of Apamsea and Antioch, which latter city Saxa 
abandoned at their approach, flying precipitately into 

peius, who forced himself into 
partnership with the other three a 
little later. 

1 Appian, Bell. Civ. v. p. 6(4. 

"- Q. Labienus, the son of Titus, 
Ctesar's legate in Gaul, had heen 
sent as envoy to Orodes by Brutus 
and Cassius "(Dio Cass, xlviii. 24), 
and was at the Parthian Court 
when news of the defeat at Philippi 

arrived. Dreading the ' proscrip- 
tion' of the victors, he determined 
to continue with the Parthians, and 
to put his services at their disposal. 

3 Perusia was taken in January, 
B.C. 40 ; but the news of its capture 
would not reach Ctesiphon for some 

* Strab. xvi. 2, § 10. 

> Dio Cass, xlviii. 25 (§ 108). 


Cilicia. 1 Encouraged by these successes, Labienus and 
Pacorus agreed to divide their troops, and to engage 
simultaneously in two great expeditions. Pacorus 
undertook to carry the Parthian standard throughout 
the entire extent of Syria, Phoenicia, and Palestine, 
while Labienus determined to invade Asia Minor, and to 
see if he could not wrest some of its more fertile regions 
from the Romans. Both expeditions were crowned 
with success. Pacorus reduced all Syria, and all 
Phoenicia, except the single city of Tyre, which he was 
unable to capture for want of a naval force. 2 He then 
advanced into Palestine, which he found in its normal 
condition of intestine commotion. 3 Hyrcanus and 
Antigonus, two princes of the Asmona3an house, 
were rivals for the Jewish crown ; and the latter, 
whom Hyrcanus had expelled, was content to make 
common cause with the invader, and to be in- 
debted to a rude foreigner for the possession of the 
kingdom whereto he aspired. He offered Pacorus a 
thousand talents, and Jive hundred Jewish women, if 
he would espouse his cause and seat him upon his 
uncle's throne. 4 The offer was readily embraced, and 
by the irresistible help of the Parthians a revolution 
was effected at Jerusalem. Hyrcanus was deposed and 
mutilated. A new priest-king was set up in the person 
of Antigonus, the last Asmonasan prince, who held the 
capital for three years — B.C. 40-37 — as a Parthian 
satrap, the creature and dependant of the great 
monarchy on the further side of the Euphrates. 
Meanwhile in Asia Minor Labienus carried all before 
him. Decidius Saxa, having once more (in Cilicia) 

1 Dio Cass, xlviii. § 108-110. i 3 Joseph. Ant. Jud. xiv. V- 

2 Ibid, xlviii. 20 (§ 111). Com- ! Bell. Jud. i. 13. 

pare Appian, Bell, Civ. v. p. 701, 13. | 4 Joseph. Bell. Jud. i. 18, § 1. 



ventured upon a battle, was not only defeated, but 
slain. 1 Pamphylia, Lycia, and Caria were overrun. 
Stratonicea was besieged ; Mylasa and Alabanda were 
taken. 2 According to some writers, the Partliians 
even pillaged Lydia and Ionia, and were in possession 
of Asia to the shores of the Hellespont. 3 It may be 
said that for a full year Western Asia changed masters ; 
the rule and authority of Borne disappeared ; and the 
Partliians were recognised as the dominant power. 

But the fortune of war now began to turn. In the 
autumn of B.C. 39, Antony, having set out from Italy 
to resume his command in the East, despatched his 
lieutenant, Publius Ventidius, into Asia, with orders to 
act against Labienus and the triumphant Partliians. 4 
Ventidius landed unexpectedly on the coast of Asia 
Minor, and so alarmed Labienus, who had no Parthian 
troops with him, that the latter fell back hurriedly 
towards Cilicia, evacuating all the more western pro- 
vinces, and at the same time sending urgent messages 
to Pacorus to implore succour. Pacorus sent a body 
of horse to his aid ; but these troops, instead of putting 
themselves under his command, acted independently, 
and, in a rash attempt to surprise the Eoman camp, 
were defeated by Ventidius, whereupon they fled 
hastily into Cilicia, leaving Labienus to his fate. 5 The 
self-styled ' Imperator,' 6 upon this, deserted his men, 

1 J)io Cass, xlviii. 25, ad Jin. 

2 Ibid, xlviii. 26. Compare 
Strab. xiv. 2, § 24. 

3 Plut. Anton. § 30; Appian, 
Parth. p. 156, A. 

4 Dio Cass, xlviii. 39; Plut. 
Anton. § 33. 

5 Dio Cass, xlviii. 40. 

6 Labienus styled himself ' Im- 
perator Parthicus' (Strab. l.s.c.;Dio 
Cass, xlviii. 20, ad Jin.) ; and even 

put tills ridiculous title upon his 
coins — 

Coin of Labienus. 



[Cn. XII. 

and sought safety in flight ; but his retreat was soon 
discovered, and he was pursued, captured, and put to 
death. 1 

The Parthians, meanwhile, alarmed at the turn 
which affairs had taken, left Antigonus to maintain 
their interests in Palestine, and concentrated themselves 
in Northern Syria and Commagene, where they awaited 
the advance of the Eomans. A strong detachment, 
under Pharnapates, was appointed to guard the Syrian 
Gates, or narrow pass over Mount Amanus, leading from 
Cilicia into Syria. 2 Here Ventidius gained another 
victory. He had sent forward an officer named 
Pompaxlius Silo with some cavalry to endeavour to 
seize this post, and Pompasdius had found himself com- 
pelled to an engagement with Pharnapates, in which 
lie was on the point of suffering defeat, when Ventidius 
himself, who had probably feared for his subordinate's 
safety, appeared on the scene, and turned the scale in 
favour of the Eomans. The detachment under Pharna- 
pates was overpowered, and Pharnapates himself was 
among the slain. 3 When news of this defeat reached 
Pacorus, he resolved to retreat, and withdrew his 
troops across the Euphrates. This movement he ap- 
pears to have executed without being molested by 
Ventidius, who thus recovered Syria to the Eomans 
towards the close of B.C. 39, or early in B.C. 38. 

But Pacorus was far from intending to relinquish 
the contest. He had made himself popular among the 
Syrians by his mild and just administration, 4 and knew 

1 I)io Cass, xlviii. 40, ad Jin. ; 
Plut. Anton. § 33. 

3 For the position of tins pass, 
see Strabo, xv. 2, § 8. 

3 Dio Cass, xlviii. 41 ; Plut. I.S.C.; 
Strab. l.s.c. 

4 Dio Cass. xlix. 20. Tbv 
YlaKopov ofxoia roTt," /uaXwra tCjv 

TtOTTOTt ft<t(Tl\fV<TUVTiOV Kill £7Tl CIKOI- 

oavvy Kul trrl 7:pqoTi}7i [oi 2u,ooi] 


that they preferred his government to that of the 
Bomans. He had many allies among the petty princes 
and dynasts, 1 who occupied a semi-independent position 
on the borders of the Parthian and Eoman empires. 
Antigonns, whom he had established as king of the 
Jews, still maintained himself in Judaea against the 
efforts of Herod, 2 to whom Augustus and Antony 
had assigned the throne. Pacorus therefore arranged 
during the remainder of the winter for a fresh invasion 
of Syria in the spring, and, taking the field earlier than 
his adversary expected, made ready to recross the 
Euphrates. We are told that if he had crossed at the 
usual point, he would have found the Eomans unpre- 
pared, the legions being still in their winter quarters, 
some north and some south of the range of Taurus. 3 
Yentidius however contrived by a stratagem to induce 
him to effect the passage at a different point, considerably 
lower down the stream, and in this way to waste some 
valuable time, which he himself employed in collecting 
his scattered forces. Thus, when the Parthians ap- 
peared on the right bank of the Euphrates, the Eoman 
general was prepared to engage them, and was not 
even loth to decide the fate of the war by a single 
battle. He had taken care to provide himself with a 
strong force of slingers, and had entrenched himself 
in a position on high ground at some distance from 
the river. 4 The Parthians, finding their passage of the 
Euphrates unopposed, and, when they fell in with the 
enemy, seeing him entrenched, as though resolved to 

1 As Antiochus, king of Com- I xlviii. 41 ; xlix. 19, 32, &c.) 
magene ; Lysanias, tetrarch of 
Itursea; Malchus, sheikh of the 
Nabatsean Arabs ; Chavnreus, Anti- 
gonus, and others. (Dio Cass. 

2 Joseph. Ant. Jud. xiv. 15 ; Bell. 
Jud. i. 15, 16. 

3 Dio Cass. xlix. 19. 

4 Ibid. 20. 



[Cn. XII. 

act only on the defensive, became overbold ; they 
thought the force opposed to them must be weak or 
cowardly, and might yield its position without a blow, 
if briskly attacked. Accordingly, as on a former occa- 
sion, 1 they charged up the hill on which the Eoman 
camp was placed, hoping to take it by sheer audacity. 
But the troops inside were held ready, and at the 
proper moment issued forth ; the assailants found 
themselves in their turn assailed, and, fighting at a dis- 
advantage on the slope, were soon driven down the 
declivity. The battle was renewed in the plain below, 
where the mailed horse of the Parthians made a brave 
resistance ; but the slingers galled them severely, and 
in the midst of the struggle it happened that by ill- 
fortune Pacorus was slain. The result followed which 
is almost invariable with an Oriental army : having lost 
their leader, the soldiers everywhere gave way ; flight 
became universal, and the Eomans gained a complete 
victory. 2 The Parthian army fled in two directions. 
Part made for the bridge of boats by which it had 
crossed the Euphrates, but was intercepted by the 
Eomans and destroyed. Part turned northwards into 
Commagene, and there took refuge with the king, 
Antiochus, who refused to surrender them to the 
demand of Yentidius, and no doubt allowed them to 
return to their own country. 

Thus ended the great Parthian invasion of Syria, and 
with it ended the prospect of any further spread of the 
Arsacid dominion towards the west. When the two 
great powers, Eome and Parthia, first came into col- 
lision — when the first blow struck by the latter, the 

1 See above, p. 166. 
~ In describing this battle, I 
have followed Dio's account (xlix. 

20), rather than Justin's (xlii. 4), 
as at once more graphic and more 


destruction of the army of Crassus, was followed up by 
the advance of their clouds of horse into Syria, Pales- 
tine, and Asia Minor — when Apamsea, Antioch, and 
Jerusalem fell into their hands, when Decidius Saxa 
was defeated and slain, Cilicia, Pamphylia, Caria, 
Lydia, and Ionia occupied — it seemed as if Koine had 
found, not so much an equal, as a superior ; it looked 
as if the power heretofore predominant would be com- 
pelled to contract her frontier, and as if Parthia would 
advance hers to the Egean or the Mediterranean. The 
history of the contest between the East and the West, 
between Asia and Europe, is a history of reactions. 
At one time one of the continents, at another time the 
other, is in the ascendant. The time appeared to have 
come when the Asiatics were once more to recover 
their own, and to beat back the European aggressor to 
his proper shores and islands. The triumphs achieved 
by the Seljukian Turks between the eleventh and 
the fifteenth centuries would in that case have been 
anticipated by above a thousand years through the 
efforts of a kindred, and not dissimilar people. 1 But 
it turned out that the effort made was premature. 
While the Parthian warfare was admirably adapted for 
the national defence on the broad plains of inner Asia, 
it was ill suited for conquest, and, comparatively 
speaking, ineffective in more contracted and difficult 
regions. The Parthian military system had not the 
elasticity of the Eoman — it did not in the same Avay 
adapt itself to circumstances, or admit of the addition 
of new arms, or the indefinite expansion of an old one. 
However loose and seemingly flexible, it was rigid in 
its uniformity ; it never altered ; it remained under the 

1 Supra, p. 25. 



[Cn. XII. 

thirtieth Arsacea such as it had been under the first, 
improved in details, perhaps, but essentially the same 
system. The Eomans, on the contrary, were ever 
modifying their system, ever learning new combinations 
or new manoeuvres or new modes of warfare from their 
enemies. They met the Parthian tactics of loose array, 
continuous distant missiles, and almost exclusive em- 
ployment of cavalry, with an increase in the number 
of their own horse, a larger employment of auxiliary 
irregulars, and a greater use of the sling. 1 At the 
same time, they learnt to take full advantage of the 
Parthian inefficiency against walls, and to practise 
against them the arts of pretended retreat and ambush. 
The result was, that Parthia found she could make no 
impression upon the dominions of Eome, and having 
become persuaded of this by the experience of a decade 
of years, thenceforth laid aside for ever the idea of 
attempting Western conquests. She took up, in fact, 
from this time, a new attitude. Hitherto she had been 
consistently aggressive. She had laboured constantly 
to extend herself at the expense successively of the 
Bactrians, the Scythians, the Syro-Macedonians, and 
the Armenians. She had proceeded from one aggres- 
sion to another, leaving only short intervals between 
her wars, and had always been looking out for some 
fresh enemy. Henceforth she became, comparatively 
speaking, pacific. She was content, for the most part, 
to maintain her limits. She sought no new foe. Her 
contest with Eome degenerated into a struggle for 

1 Compare on this point Dio 
Cass. xlix. 20, and 26, with Plut. 
Anton. § 41. Note especially the 
statement of Dio : — oi otytvdovtiTat, 
7ro\\ui 7i ovtic, real fiaKporkpco 

toiv ToZwv tivrtc, iravTa Kai top 
KaraifjfjaKTOV ltf%vpu>Q kXvfiaivovTn — 

and the fact implied in Plutarch 
that the slingers used leaden bullets 
(lxo\vi35i1g) instead of stones. 


influence over the kingdom of Armenia ; and her hopes 
were limited to the reduction of that kingdom into a 
subject position. 

The death of Pacorus is said to have caused Orodes 
intense grief. 1 For many days he would neither eat 
nor speak ; then his sorrow took another turn. He 
imagined that his son had returned ; he thought con- 
tinually that he heard or saw him ; he could do nothing 
but repeat his name. Every now and then, however, 
he awoke to a sense of the actual fact, and mourned 
the death of his favourite with tears. After a while 
this extreme grief wore itself out, and the aged king 
began to direct his attention once more to public affairs. 
He grew anxious about the succession. 2 Of the thirty 
sons who still remained to him there was not one who 
had made himself a name, or was in any way distin- 
guished above the remainder. In the absence of any 
personal ground of preference, Orodes — who seems to 
have regarded himself as possessing a right to nominate 
the son who should succeed him — thought the claims 
of primogeniture deserved to be considered, and 
selected as his successor Phraates, the eldest of the 
thirty. 3 Not content with nominating him, or perhaps 
doubtful whether the nomination would be accepted 
by the Megistanes, he proceeded further to abdicate in 
his favour, whereupon Phraates became king. The 
transaction proved a most unhappy one. Phraates, 
jealous of some of his brothers, who were the sons of 
a princess married to Orodes, 4 whereas his own mother 
was only a concubine, removed them by assassination, 

1 Justin, xlii. 4, §§ 12-13. Com- * Orodes had married a daughter 

of Antiochus, king of Commagene 
(Dio Cass l.s.c.) 

pare Dio Cass. xlix. 23 

2 Justin, xlii. 4, § 14 

3 Dio Cass. xlix. 23. 



[Ch. XII. 

and when the ex-monarch ventured to express dis- 
approval of the act, added the crime of parricide to 
fratricide by putting to death his aged father. 1 Thus 
perished Orodes, after a reign of eighteen years — the 
most memorable in the Parthian annals. 

1 According to Plutarch (Crass. 
§ 33) Phraates first attempted his 
father's destruction by means of 

poison, but the poison failing to 
take effect, he then smothered him 
with his pillow. 



Reign of IV. His cruelties. Flight of Monceses to Antony. 
Antony's great Parthian Expedition, or Invasion of Media AtropatenS. 
Its Complete Failure. Subsequent Alliance of the Median King with 
Antony. War between Parthia and Media. Rebellion raised against 
Phraates by Tiridates. Phraates expelled. He recovers his Throne 
with the help of the Scythians. His dealings ivith Augustus. His Death 
and Character. 

' Redditum Cyri solio Phraatem 
Dissidens plebi numero beatorum 
Eximit Virtus.'— Hor. Od. ii. 2, 16-18. 

The shedding of blood is like ' the letting out of 
water.' When it once begins, none can say where it 
will stop. The absolute monarch who, for his own 
fancied security, commences a system of executions, is 
led on step by step to wholesale atrocities from which 
he would have shrunk with horror at the outset. 
Phraates had removed brothers whose superior advan- 
tages of birth made them formidable rivals. He had 
punished with death a father who ventured to blame 
his act, and to forget that by abdication he had sunk 
himself to the position of a subject. Could he have 
stopped here, it might have seemed that his severities 
proceeded not so much from cruelty of disposition as 
from political necessity ; and historians, always tender 
in the judgments which they pass on kings under such 
circumstances, would probably have condoned or justi- 
fied his conduct. But the taste for bloodshed grows 
with the indulgence of it. In a short time, the young 



[Cn. XIII. 

king had killed all his remaining brothers, 1 although 
their birth was no better than his own, and there was 
no valid ground for his fearing them ; and. soon after- 
wards, not content with the murder of his own rela- 
tions, he began to vent his fury upon the Parthian 
nobles. Many of these suffered death ; 2 and such a 
panic seized the order, that numbers quitted the 
country, and dispersed in different directions, content 
to remain in exile until the danger which threatened 
them should have passed by. There were others, 
however, who were not so patient. A body of chiefs 
had fled to Antony, among whom was a certain 
Monasses, a nobleman of the highest rank, 3 who seems 
to have distinguished himself previously in the Syrian 
wars. 4 This person represented to Antony that 
Phraates had by his tyrannical and. bloody conduct 
made himself hateful to his subjects, and that a revo- 
lution could easily be effected. If the Eomans would 
support him, he offered to invade Parthia ; and he 
made no doubt of wresting the greater portion of it 
from the hands of the tyrant, and of being himself 
accepted as king. In that case, he would consent to 
hold his crown of the Eomans, who might depend upon 
his fidelity and gratitude. Antony is said to have 
listened to these overtures, and to have been induced 
by them to turn his thoughts to an invasion of the 
Parthian kingdom. 5 He began to collect troops and 
to obtain allies with this object. He entered into 
negotiations with Artavasdes, the Armenian king, 6 

1 To reconcile Dio (xlix. 23) with 
Justin (xlii. 4, § 14), it is neces- 
sary to suppose that the grandsons 
of Antiochus were murdered first, 
the sons of Orodes by his concu- 
bines afterwards. 

2 Dio Cass, l.s.c. ' 

3 Plut. Anton. § 37. 'Avr) 9 
iTri^>avt)Q icni Svvarac. 

4 Hor. Od. iii. 6." 9. 

5 Dio Cass. xlix. 24. 

6 Ibid. c. 25. 


who seems at this time to have been more afraid of 
Home than of Parthia, and engaged him to take a part 
in his projected campaign. He spoke of employing 
Monteses in a separate expedition. Under these cir- 
cumstances, Phraates became alarmed. He sent a 
message to Monseses, with promises of pardon and 
favour, which that chief thought worthy of acceptance. 
Hereupon Monseses represented to Antony that by a 
peaceful return he might perhaps do him as much 
service as by having recourse to arms; and though 
Autony was not persuaded, he thought it prudent to 
profess himself well satisfied, and to allow Momeses to 
quit him. His relations with Parthia, he said, might 
perhaps be placed on a proper footing without a war, 
and he was quite willing to try negotiation. His 
ambassadors should accompany Monies. They would 
be instructed to demand nothing of Phraates but the 
restoration of the Eoman standards taken from Crassus, 
and the liberation of such of the captive soldiers as 
were still living. 1 

But Antony had really determined on war. It may 
be doubted whether it had required the overtures of 
Monajses to put a Parthian expedition into his thoughts 
He must have been either more or less than a man if 
the successes of his lieutenants had not stirred in his 
mind some feeling of jealousy, and some desire to 
throw their victories into the shade by a grand and 
notable achievement. Especially the glory of Ventidius, 
who had been allowed the much-coveted honour of a 
triumph at Pome on account of his defeats of the 
Parthians in Cilicia and Syria, 2 must have moved him 

1 Dio Cass. xlix. 24, ad fin. 

2 The 'Fasti triumphales ' give 
under the year 715 ( = b.c. 

38) the entry 'P. VENTIDIVS 


to emulation, and have caused him to cast about for 
some means of exalting his own military reputation 
above that of his subordinates. For this purpose, no- 
thing, he must have known, would be so effectual as a 
real Parthian success, the inflicting on this hated and 
dreaded foe of an unmistakable humiliation, the dic- 
tating to them terms of peace on their own soil after 
some crushing and overwhelming disaster. And, after 
the victories of Ventidius, this did not appear to be so 
very difficult. The prestige of the Parthian name was 
gone. Eoman soldiers could be trusted to meet them 
without alarm, and to contend with them without 
undue excitement or flurry. The weakness, as well as 
the strength, of their military system had come to be 
known ; and expedients had been devised by which its 
strong points were met and counterbalanced. 1 At the 
head of sixteen legions, 2 Antony might well think that 
he could invade Parthia successfully, and not only 
avoid the fate of Crassus, but gather laurels which 
might serve him in good stead in his contest with his 
great political rival. 

Nor can the Eoman general be taxed with undue 
precipitation, or with attacking in insufficient force. 
He had begun, as already noticed, with securing the 
co-operation of the Armenian king, Artavasdes, who 
promised him a contingent of 7,000 foot and 6,000 
horse. His Eoman infantry is estimated at 60,000 ; 
besides which he had 10,000 Gallic and Iberian horse, 
and 30,000 light armed and cavalry of the Asiatic 
allies. 3 His own army thus amounted to 100,000 

3 See above, p. 194. 3 These numbers are taken from 

2 So Florus (iv. 10) and Justin Flutarch (Anton. § 37), whose ac- 

(xlii. 5, § 3). Livy says eighteen count is the most circumstantial, 

(Epit. cxxx.); Velleius(ii. 82, §1), and (on the whole) the one most 

thirteen. j to be depended upon. 



men ; and, with the Armenian contingent, his entire 
force would have been 113,000. It seems that it was 
his original intention to cross the Euphrates into Meso- 
potamia, and tli us to advance almost in the footsteps of 
Crassus ; l but, when he reached the banks of the river 
(about midsummer, B.C. 37), he found such preparations 
made to resist him, that he abandoned his first design, 
and, turning northwards, entered Armenia, determined 
to take advantage of his alliance with Artavasdes, and 
to attack Parthia with Armenia as the basis of his 
operations. Artavasdes gladly received him, and per- 
suaded him, instead of penetrating into Parthia itself, 
to direct his arms against the territory of a Parthian 
subject-ally, 2 the king of Media Atropatene, whose 
territories adjoined Armenia on the south-east. Arta- 
vasdes pointed out that the Median monarch was absent 
from his own country, having joined his troops to those 
which Phraates had collected for the defence of Parthia. 
His territory therefore would be open to ravage, and 
even Praaspa, his capital, might prove an easy prey. 
The prospect excited Antony, who at once divided his 
troops, and having given orders to Oppius Statianus to 
follow him leisurely with the more unwieldy part of 
the army, the baggage-train, and the siege batteries, 
proceeded himself by forced marches to Praaspa with 
all the cavalry and the infantry of the better class. 3 
This town was situated at the distance of nearly three 
hundred miles from the Armenian frontier ; 4 but the 

1 Dio Cass. xlix. 25. 

2 Media Atropatene' was some- 
times subject to Parthia, sometimes 
independent. That at this time it 
was dependent appears from the 
whole narrative of the war in Plu- 
tarch and Dio. 

3 Dio Cass, l.s.c. 

* See below, p. 204. On the 
identity of Dio's Praaspa (the Vera 
of Strabo, xi. 13, § 3) with the 
modern Takht-i-Sulei'man, see a 
paper by Sir H. Eawlinson in the 
Geographical Journal, vol. x. p. 



[Cn. XIII. 

way to it lay through well-cultivated plains, where food 
and water were abundant. Antony performed the 
march without difficulty, and at once invested the 
place. The walls were strong, and the defenders 
numerous, so that he made little impression ; and when 
the Median king returned, accompanied by his Parthian 
suzerain, to the defence of his country, the capital seemed 
in so little danger that it was resolved to direct the first 
attack on Statianus, who had not yet joined his chief. 
A most successful onslaught was made on this officer, 
who was surprised, defeated, and slain. 1 Ten thousand 
Eomans fell in the battle, 2 and all the baggage- wagons 
and engines of war were taken. A still worse result 
of the defeat was the desertion of Artavasdes, who, re- 
garding the case of the Eomans as desperate, drew off 
his troops, and left Antony to his own resources. 3 

The Eoman general now found himself in great dif- 
ficulties. He had exhausted the immediate neighbour- 
hood of Praaspa, and was obliged to send his foraging- 
parties on distant expeditions, where, being beyond the 
reach of his protection, they were attacked and cut to 
pieces by the enemy. 4 He had lost his siege-train, and 
found it impossible to construct another. Such works 
as he attempted suffered through the sallies of the be- 
sieged ; and in some of these his soldiers behaved so ill 
that he was forced to punish their cowardice by deci- 
mation. 5 His supplies failed, and he had to feed his 
troops on barley instead of wheat. Meantime the 
autumnal equinox was approaching, and the weather 

1 Plut. Anton. § 38, ad Jin. ; Dio 
Cass. xlix. 25. 

2 So Plutarch (l.s.c). The 'two 
legions ' of Livy (' duabus legioni- 
bus amissis,' Epit. cxxx.) seem to 
refer to this battle. Compare Veil. 

Pat. ii. 82, § 2. 

3 Plut. Anton. § 39. 

4 Dio Cass. xlix. 26. 

5 Plut. Anton. § 39, adjm. ; Dio 
Cass. xlix. 27. 



was becoming cold. The Medes and Parthians, under 
their respective monarchy hung about him, impeded 
his movements, and cut off his stragglers, but carefully 
avoided engaging him in a pitched battle. If he could 
have forced the city to a surrender, he would have 
been in comparative safety, for he might have gone 
into winter quarters there and have renewed the war 
in the ensuing spring. But all his assaults, witli what- 
ever desperation they were made, failed ; and it became 
necessary to relinquish the siege and retire into Armenia 
before the rigours of winter should set in. He could 
however with difficulty bring himself to make a con- 
fession of failure, and flattered himself for a while that 
the Parthians would consent to purchase his retirement 
by the surrender of the Crassian captives and standards. 
Having lost some valuable time in negotiations, at 
which the Parthians laughed, 1 at length, when the 
equinox was passed, he broke up from before Praaspa, 
and commenced the work of retreat. There were two 
roads 2 by which he might reach the Araxes at the 
usual point of passage. One lay towards the left, 
through a plain and open country, 3 probably that 
through which he had come ; the other, which was 
shorter, but more difficult, lay to the right, leading 
across a mountain -tract, but one fairly supplied with 
water, and in which there were inhabited villages. 
Antony was advised that the Parthians had occupied 
the easier route, 4 expecting that he would follow it, 

1 Dio Cass. xlix. 27 ; Plut. 
Anton. § 40. 

2 Plut. Anton. § 41. 

3 If Praaspa was, as is probable, 
the modern Takht-i-Suleiman, this 
■would be the route along the course 
of the Jaghetu and the eastern 

shores of Lake Uruniiyeh, which is 
the road an army would naturally 
follow. (See Geograph. Journ. vol. 
x. p. 115.) 

* Plut. l.s.c. Compare Dio Cass. 
xlix. 28. 


and intended to overwhelm him with their cavalry in 
the plains. He therefore took the road to the right 
through a rugged and inclement country — probably 
that between Tahkt-i-Suleiman and Tabriz 1 — and, 
guided by a Mardian who knew the region well, pro- 
ceeded to make his way back to the Araxes. His 
decision took the Parthians by surprise, and for two 
days he was unmolested. But by the third day they 
had thrown themselves across his path ; and thence- 
forward, for nineteen consecutive days, they disputed 
with Antony every inch of his retreat, and inflicted on 
him the most serious damage. The sufferings of the 
Eoman army during this time, says a modern historian 
of Borne, 2 ' were unparalleled in their military annals. 
The intense cold, the blinding snow and driving sleet, 
the want sometimes of provisions, sometimes of water, 
the use of poisonous herbs, and the harassing attacks 
of the enemy's cavalry and bowmen, which could only 
be repelled by maintaining the dense array of the 
phalanx or the tortoise, reduced the retreating army 
by one third of its numbers.' At length, after a march 
of 300 Eoman, or 277 British, miles, they reached the 
river Araxes, probably at the Julfa ferry, and, crossing 
it, found themselves in Armenia. But the calamities 
of the return were not yet ended. Though it was 
arranged with Artavasdes that the bulk of the army 
should winter in Armenia, 3 yet, before the various 
detachments could reach their quarters in different 
parts of the country, eight thousand more had perished 
through the effects of past sufferings or the severity of 

1 Sir H. Rawlinson has shown J 115-117.) 
that this route corresponds in every j 2 Merivale, Roman Empire, vol. 
particular to that described by Plu- j ii. p. 289. 
tarch. (Geograph. Journ. vol. x. pp. ( 3 Dio Cass. xlix. 31. 

Cn. XIII.] 



the weather. 1 Altogether, out of f he hundred thousand 
men whom Antony led into Media Atropatene, less 
than seventy thousand 2 remained to commence the 
campaign which was threatened for the ensuing year. 
Well may the unfortunate commander have exclaimed, 
as he compared his own heavy losses with the light ones 
of Xenophon and his Greeks in these same regions, 
' Oh, those Ten Thousand ! those Ten Thousand ! ' 3 

On the withdrawal of Antony into Armenia, a quarrel 
broke out between Phraates and his Median vassal. 
The latter regarded himself as wronged in the division 
made of the Roman spoils, 4 and expressed himself with 
so much freedom on the subject as to offend his suze- 
rain. He then began to fear that he had gone too far, 
and that Phraates would punish him by depriving him 
of his sovereignty. Accordingly, he was anxious to 
obtain a powerful alliance, and on turning over in his 
mind all feasible political combinations, it seems to 
have occurred to him that his late enemy, Antony, 
might be disposed to take him under his protection. 
He doubtless knew that Artavasdes of Armenia had 
offended the Eoman leader by deserting him in the 
hour of his greatest peril, and felt that, if Antony was 
intending to revenge himself on the traitor, he would 
be glad to have a friend on the Armenian border. He 
therefore sent an ambassador of rank 5 to Alexandria, 

1 Plut. Anton. § 51. 

2 Florus says that not more than 
one-third of the legionaries escaped 
(iv. 10) ; Velleius, that one-fourth 
of the soldiers and one-third of the 
attendants perished (ii. 82). Plu- 
tarch estimates the loss in Media 
at 24,000 men (Anton. § 50) ; but 
it is doubtful whether he means to 
include in this the 10,000 destroyed 
with Statianus. If not, he would 

regard the army as reduced on its 
return to Armenia from 100,000 to 

3 Plut. Anton. § 45, ad fin. QQeipo- 

p.SV(i)V Sk TToWuJVj Krtl TU)V IldpOdJV OVK 

afiirTTafi'svwv ffoWaKlQ avcKpOsyZaoOai 
tov 'Aitwviov taropovoiv, *Q pvpioi. 

4 Dio Cass. xlix. 33. Plut. 
Anton. § 52. 

5 Polemo, who is called ' king of 
Pontus ' (Dio Cass. xlix. 23)— that 



[Ch. XIII. 

where Antony was passing the winter, and boldly pro- 
posed the alliance. Antony readily accepted it ; he 
was intensely angered by the conduct of the Armenian 
monarch, and determined on punishing his defection ; 
he viewed the Median alliance as of the utmost import- 
ance in connection with the design, which he still 
entertained, of invading Parthia itself; x and he saw in 
the powerful descendant of Atropates a prince whom 
it would be well worth his while to bind to his cause 
indissolubly. He therefore embraced the overtures 
made to him with joy, and even rewarded the mes- 
senger who had brought them with a principality. 2 
After sundry efforts to entice Artavasdes into his 
power, which occupied him during most of B.C. 35, in 
the spring of B.C. 34 he suddenly appeared in Armenia. 
His army, which had remained there from the previous 
campaign, held all the more important positions, and, 
as he professed the most friendly feelings towards 
Artavasdes, even proposing an alliance between their 
families, 3 that prince, after some hesitation, at length 
ventured into his presence. Hcwas immediately seized 
and put in chains. 4 Armenia was rapidly overrun. 
Artaxias, whom the Armenians made king in the room 
of his father, was defeated and forced to take refuge 
with the Parthians. Antony then arranged a marriage 
between the daughter of the Median monarch 5 and his 
own son by Cleopatra, Alexander, and, leaving garrisons 

is, of the portion which had not 
been absorbed into the Roman 
Empire. On the history of this 
Polemo, see Clinton, F. H. vol. iii. 
p. 428, note m. 

1 Plut. Anton. § 52. 

2 DioCass.xlix.33. Ty UoXkfuovi 

HioQbv ttjq KtipvKuaq Tr)v fiiKporepav 
'Apfxeviav Sovvat. 

3 Ibid. xlix. 39. 

4 These are said to have been at 
first of silver (Dio Cass. xlix. 39, 
adjin.), and afterwards of gold 
(ib. 40 ; Veil. Paterc. ii. 82). 

5 This king had the same name 
as the Armenian monarch — viz., 
Artavasdes. He has, therefore, to 
prevent confusion, not been named 
in the text. 

Cn. XIII.] 



in Armenia, carried off Artavasdes and a rich booty 
into Egypt. 

Phraates, during these transactions, stood wholly 
upon the defensive. It may not have been unpleasing 
to him to see Artavasdes punished. It must have gra- 
tified him to observe how Antony was injuring his own 
cause by exasperating the Armenians, and teaching 
them to hate Rome even more than they hated Parthia. 1 
But while Antony's troops held both Syria and Arme- 
nia, and the alliance between Media Atropatene and 
Rome continued, he could not venture to take any 
aggressive step, or do aught but protect his own fron- 
tier. He was obliged even to look on with patience, 
when, early in B.C. 33, Antony appeared once more in 
these parts, 2 and advancing to the Araxes, had a con- 
ference with the Median monarch, whereat their alliance 
was confirmed, troops exchanged, part of Armenia 
made over to the Median king, and Jotapa, his daughter, 
given as a bride to the young Alexander, whom Antony 
designed to make satrap of the East. 3 But no sooner 
had Antony withdrawn into Asia Minor in preparation 
for his contest with Octavian, than Phraates took the 
offensive. In combination with Artaxias, the new 
Armenian king, he attacked Antony's ally; but the 
latter repulsed him by the help of his Roman troops. 
Soon afterwards, however, Antony recalled these troops 
without restoring to the Median king his own contin- 
gent ; upon which the two confederates renewed their 
attack, and were successful. The Median prince was 
defeated and taken prisoner. 4 Artaxias recovered 

1 Compare Tacit. Ann. ii. 3 : 
' Armenia inter Parthorum et Ro- 
manas opes infida ob scelus An- 

2 Dio Cass. xlix. 44. 

3 See Pint. Anton. § 54; Dio 
Cass. xlix. 41. 

4 Dio Cass. xlix. 44. 



[Oh. XIII. 

Armenia, and massacred all the Eoman garrisons which 
he found in it. 1 Both countries became once more 
wholly independent of Eome, and it is probable that 
Media returned to its old allegiance. 

But the successes of Phraates abroad produced ill 
consequences at home. Elated by his victories, and 
regarding his position in Parthia as thereby secured, he 
resumed the series of cruelties towards his subjects 
which the Eoman war had interrupted, and pushed 
them so far, that an insurrection broke out against his 
authority (B.C. 33), and he was compelled to quit the 
country. 2 The revolt was headed by a certain Tiri- 
dates, who, upon its success, was made king by the 
insurgents. Phraates fled into Scythia, and persuaded 
the Scythians to embrace his cause. These nomads, 
nothing loth, took up arms, and without any great 
difficulty restored Phraates to the throne from which 
his people had expelled him. Tiridates fled at their 
approach, and, having contrived to carry off in his 
flight the youngest son of Phraates, presented him- 
self before Octavian, who was in Syria at the time on 
his return from Egypt (b.c. 30 ), 3 surrendered the 
young prince into his hands, and requested his aid 
against the tyrant. 4 Octavian accepted the valuable 
hostage, but, with his usual caution, declined to pledge 

1 Dio Cass. li. 16. 

2 Justin, xlii. 5, § 4. 

It was 
probably now that Phraates, fearing 
that his seraglio would fall into 
the hands of Tiridates, murdered 
all his concubines. (Isid. Char. 
M. P. § 1.) 

3 Tiridates cannot have reigned 
in Parthia more than about three 
years (from B.C. 33 to 30) ; but he 
continued to claim the title of king 
and to issue coins till, at any rate, 
B.C. 26. Coins which seem rightly 

assigned to him in the British Mu- 
seum Collection (arranged by the 
late Mr. De Salis) bear the dates 
Ens and Sns, or b.c. 27 and 26. 
The earliest coin of a similar tvpe 
which is dated, bears the letters 
pos, or b.c. 33. 

4 Justin makes these events take 
place later, when Augustus was in 
Spain (b.c. 27-24) ; but it seems 
impossible that the circumstantial 
account of Dio (li. 18) can be a 
mere fiction. 


himself to furnish any help to the pretender ; he might 
remain, he said, in Syria, if he so wished, and while he 
continued under Roman protection, a suitable provision 
should be made for his support, but he must not expect 
armed assistance against the Parthian monarch. To 
that monarch, when some years afterwards (b.c. 23) he 
demanded the surrender of his subject and the resto- 
ration of his young son, Octavian answered, 1 that he 
could not give Tiridates up to him, but he would restore 
him his son without a ransom. He should expect, 
however, that in return for this kindness the Parthian 
king would on his part deliver to the Romans the 
standards taken from Crassus and Antony, together 
with all who survived of the Roman captives. It does 
not appear that Phraates was much moved by the 
Emperor's generosity. He gladly received his son ; 
but he took no steps towards the restoration of those 
proofs of Parthian victory which the Romans were so 
anxious to recover. It was not until B.C. 20, when 
Octavian (now become Augustus) visited the East, and 
war seemed the probable alternative if he continued 
obstinate, that the Parthian monarch brought himself 
to relinquish the trophies which were as much prized 
by the victors as the vanquished. 2 In extenuation of 
his act we must remember that he was unpopular with 
his subjects, and that Augustus could at any moment 
have produced a pretender, who had once occupied, 
and with Roman help might easily have mounted for 
a second time, the throne of the Arsacidge. 

1 Dio Cass. liii. 33. 

3 The standards were surrendered 
to Tiberius (Suet. Tib. § 9), who 
was commissioned by Augustus to 
receive them. Their recovery is 
celebrated in jubilant chorus by the 

Roman writers. (Suet. Octav. § 21 
Liv. Epit. cxxxix. ; Veil. Pat. ii. 
91 ; Floras, iv. 12, § 63 ; Justin, xlii. 
5, § 11 ; Eutrop. vii. 5 • Oros. vi. 
21, ad Jin. ; Hor. Od. iv. 15, 6-8 ; 
Ovid. Trist. ii. 227, 228, &c.) 



[Cn. XIII. 

The remaining years of Phraates — and he reigned for 
nearly twenty years after restoring the standards — are 
almost unbroken by any event of importance. The 
result of the twenty years' struggle between Eome and 
Parthia had been to impress either nation with a 
wholesome dread of the other. Both had triumphed 
on their own ground ; both had failed when they ven- 
tured on sending expeditions into the enemy's territory. 
Each now stood on its guard, watching the movements 
of its adversary across the Euphrates. Both had become 
pacific. It is a well-known fact that Augustus left it 
as a principle of policy to his successors that the Eoman 
Empire had reached its proper limits, and could not 
with advantage be extended further. 1 This principle, 
followed with the utmost strictness by Tiberius, was 
accepted as a rule by all the earlier Cassars, and only 
regarded as admitting of rare and slight exceptions. 
Trajan was the first who, a hundred and thirty years 
after the accession of Augustus, made light of it and set 
it at defiance. With him re-awoke the spirit of con- 
quest, the aspiration after universal dominion. But in 
the meantime there was peace — peace indeed not 
absolutely unbroken, for border wars occurred, and 
Eome was tempted sometimes to interfere by arms in 
the internal quarrels of her neighbour 2 — but a general 
state of peace and amity prevailed — neither state made 
any grand attack on the other's dominions — no change 
occurred in the frontier — no great battle tested the 
relative strength of the two peoples. Such rivalry as 
remained was exhibited less in arms than in diplomacy, 
and showed itself mainly in endeavours on either side 
to obtain a predominant influence in Armenia. There 

1 See Tacit. Ann. 
Bio Cass. lv. 38, &c. 

i. 11, ad Jin. ; 

3 As when she assisted Meher- 

dates against Gotarzes (infra, p. 



alone during the century and a half that intervened 
between Antony and Trajan did the interests of Borne 
and Parthia come into collision, and in connection with 
this kingdom alone did any struggle between the two 
countries continue. 

Phraates, after yielding to Augustus in the matter of 
the standards and prisoners, appears for many years to 
have studiously cultivated his good graces. In the 
interval between B.C. 11 and B.C. 7, 1 distrustful of his 
subjects, and fearful of their removing him in order to 
place one of his sons upon the Parthian throne, he 
resolved to send these possible rivals out of the country ; 
and on this occasion he paid Augustus the compliment 
of selecting Borne for his children's residence. 2 The 
youths were four in number, Vonones, Seraspadanes, 
Bhodaspes, and Phraates ; 3 two of them were married 
and had children ; they resided at Borne during the 
remainder of their father's lifetime, and were treated 
as became their rank, being supported at the public 
charge and in a magnificent manner. 4 The Boman 
writers speak of these as ' hostages ' given by Phraates 
to the Boman Emperor ; 5 but this was certainly not 

1 This date is fixed by the men- 
tion in Strabo (xvi. 1, § 28) of Titius 
as the governor of Syria at the time 
when the youths were sent to Rome. 
M. Titius ruled Syria as legate from 
B.C. 11 to B.C. 7. 

2 Strab. xvi. 1, § 28 ; Tac. Ann. 
ii. 1 ; Veil. Pat. ii. 94 ; Justin, xlii. 
5, § 12. 

3 Strabo, 1. s. c. The names of 
two of these youths appear in an 
inscription found at Home and pub- 
lished by Gruter (Corp. Inscr. p. 
cclxxviii. 2), part of which runs thus : 





4 Strab. l.S.C. Tiov fiev ovv iraidojv 
o(toi TTtpluoiv iv 'Pwjuy Stjfiooiq. /3aai\i- 
kw£ TrjjJitXovvTai. 

5 Among the Latin writers, the 
idea commences with Velleius, the 
flatterer of Tiberius (ii. 94, ad Jin.). 
From him it passes to Suetonius 
(Octav. § 21), Justin (l.s.c), Eutro- 
pius (vii. 5), Orosius (vi. 21, ad 

Jin.), &c. We find it, however, 
even previously to Velleius, in 
Strabo. The good sense of Tacitus 
prevents him from accepting the 



[Cn. XIII. 

the intention of the Parthian monarch ; nor could the 
idea well be entertained by the Eomans at the time of 
their residence. 

These amicable relations between the two sovereigns 
would probably have continued undisturbed till the 
death of one or the other, had not a revolution occurred 
in Armenia, which tempted the Parthian king beyond 
his powers of resistance. On the death of Artaxias 
(B.C. 20), Augustus, who was then in the East, had sent 
Tiberius into Armenia to arrange matters, and Tiberius 
had placed upon the throne a brother of Artaxias, 
named Tigranes. 1 Tigranes died in B.C. 6, and the 
Armenians, without waiting to know the will of the 
Eoman Emperor, conferred the royal title on his sons, 
for whose succession he had before his death paved the 
way by associating them with him in the government. 2 
Enraged at this assumption of independence, Augustus 
sent an expedition into Armenia (b.c. 5), deposed the 
sons of Tigranes, and established on the throne a certain 
Artavasdes, whose birth and parentage are not known 
to us. 3 But the Armenians were not now inclined to 
submit to foreign dictation ; they rose in revolt against 
Artavasdes (ab. B.C. 2), defeated his Eoman supporters, 
and expelled him from the kingdom. 4 Another Tigranes 
was made king ; 5 and, as it was pretty certain that the 
Eomans would interfere with this new display of the 
spirit of independence, the Parthians were called in to 
resist the Eoman oppressors. Armenia was, in fact, too 
weak to stand alone, and was obliged to lean upon one 

1 Tac. Ann. ii. 3 ; Suet. Tib. § 9 ; 
Dio Cass. liv. 9. By a strange 
mistake, Velleius calls the king 
whom Tiberius set up Artavasdes 
(ii. 94). 

2 Tac. Ann. l.s.c. 

3 Ibid. Coins of the year B.C. 5 

( 749) have the legend 

4 Dio Cass. lv. 9. 

5 This Tigranes is, I believe, 
mentioned only in a fragment of 
Dio (lv. 11), the exact place of 
which is uncertain. 


or other of the two great empires upon her borders. 
Her people had no clear political foresight, and allowed 
themselves to veer and fluctuate between the two influ- 
ences according as the feelings of the hour dictated. 
Borne had now angered them beyond their very limited 
powers of endurance, and they flew to Parthia for help, 
just as on other occasions we shall find them flying to 
Borne. Phraates could not bring himself to reject the 
Armenian overtures. Ever since the time of the second 
Mithridates it had been a settled maxim of Parthian 
policy to make Armenia dependent ; and, even at the 
cost of a rupture with Borne, it seemed to Phraates that 
he must respond to the appeal made to him. The rup- 
ture might not come. Augustus was now aged, and 
might submit to the affront without resenting it. He 
had lately lost the services of his best general, Tiberius, 
who, indignant at slights put upon him, had gone into 
retirement at Bhodes. He had no one that he could 
employ but his grandsons, youths who had not yet 
fleshed their maiden swords. Phraates probably hoped 
that Augustus would draw back before the terrors of a 
Parthian war under such circumstances, and would 
allow without remonstrance the passing of Armenia into 
the position of a subject-ally of Parthia. 

But, if these were his thoughts, he had miscalculated. 
Augustus, from the time that he heard of the Armenian 
troubles, and of the support given to them by Parthia, 
seems never to have wavered in his determination to 
vindicate the claims of Borne to paramount influence 
in Armenia, and to have only hesitated as to the person 
whose services he should employ in the business. He 
would have been glad to employ Tiberius ; but that 
morose prince had deserted him and, declining public 
life, had betaken himself to Bhodes, where he was 



[Cn. XIII. 

living in a self-chosen retirement. Caius, the eldest of 
his grandsons, was, in B.C. 2, only eighteen years of age ; 
and, though the thoughts of Augustus at once turned 
in this direction, the extreme youth of the prince caused 
him to hesitate somewhat ; and the consequence was 
that Caius did not start for the East till late in B.C. 1. 
Meanwhile a change had occurred in Parthia. Phraates, 
who had filled the throne for above thirty-five years, 
ceased to exist, 1 and was succeeded by a young son, 
Phraataces, who reigned in conjunction with the queen- 
mother, Thermusa, or Musa. 2 

The circumstances which brought about this change 
were the following. Phraates IV. had married, late in 
life, an Italian slave-girl, sent him as a present by Au- 
gustus ; and she had borne him a son for whom she 
was naturally anxious to secure the succession. Accord- 
ing to some, it was under her influence that the monarch 
had sent his four elder boys to Eome, there to receive 
their education. 3 At any rate, in the absence of these 
youths, Phraataces, the child of the slave-girl, became 
the chief support of Phraates in the administration of 
affairs, and obtained a position in Parthia which led 
him to regard himself as entitled to the throne so soon 
as it should become vacant. Doubtful, however, of his 
father's goodwill, or fearful of the rival claims of his 
brothers, if he waited till the throne was vacated in 

1 It has been usual to regard 
Phraates IV. as having reigned till 
a.d. 4 (Heeren,, Manual, p. 303, 
E.T. ; Plate in Smith's Biographical 
Dictionary, vol. i. p. 357 ; Lindsay, 
History and Coinage, pp. 48, 49) ; or 
even till a.d. 15 (Clinton's Fasti 
Romani, vol. ii. p. 246). But the 
dates on the coins of Phraataces 
prove that he was king in B.C. 2, and 
there is no reason to think that he 

was associated by his father. The 
difficulty on the point has been in 
part owing to Dio's calling the son 
' Phraates ' (lv. 11) as well as the 

2 Joseph. {Ant. Jad. xviii. 2, § 4) 
gives the name as Thermusa ; but 
it appears as 'Musa' (M0Y2A) in- 
variably upon the coins. 

3 Joseph. Ant. Jud. l.s.c. 


the natural course of events, Phraataces resolved to 
animate the hand of time, and, in coupon wrth 
his mother, administered poison to the old monarch 
S effects of which he died. A just Nemesis for 
once showed itself in that portion of hum n ^ 
which passes before our eyes. Phraates IV the parr 
cide and fratricide, was, after a reign of thirty-five years 
hunself assassinated (B.C. 2) by a wife whom he loved 
only too fondly and a son whom he esteemed and 

^"hrlates cannot but be regarded as one of the ablest 
of the Parthian monarchs. His conduct o the cam- 
paign against Antony-one of the best soldiers that 
Borne ever produced-was admirable, and showed him 
!ma ter of guerilla warfare. His success in maintaining 
hnnself upon the throne for five and thirty years, in spite 
Ss and notwithstanding the character which he 
obtained for cruelty, implies, in such a state as Parthia, 
Sable powerl of management. His deahngs with 
Augustus indicate much suppleness and dextenty If he 
St in the course of his long reign a^vanc ^th 
Parthian frontier, at any rate he was not obliged to re 
JS Apparently, he ceded nothing to the Scyhs 
tie price of their assistance. He maintained the 
Parth anTpremacy over Northern Media. He lost no 
mcho territory Jthe Komans. It was undoubtedly 
a prudent step on his part to soothe the irritated vanity 
ofRome by a surrender of useless trophies, and scarcely 
more usehu prisoners ; and, we may doubt if ^con- 
cession was not as effective as the dread of the Parthian 

' Paeorus, the eldeT^oTT^hT^son >^* ^ 
Orodes, was of age to a ten at^fewj ^ 7^^ m 
military command in B.C. ol, ana ™ouiu , » 

must therefore have been born as \ sixty- six m B.C. ~. 
early as B.C. G9 or 70. Phraates, 


arms in producing that peace between the two countries 
which continued unbroken for above ninety years from 
the campaign of Antony, 1 and without serious interrup- 
tion for yet another half century. 2 If Phraates felt, as 
he might well feel after the campaigns of Pacorus, that 
on the whole Eome was a more powerful state than 
Parthia, and that consequently Parthia had nothing to 
gain but much to lose in the contest with her western 
neighbour, he did well to allow no sentiment of foolish 
pride to stand in the way of a concession that made a 
prolonged peace between the two countries possible. 
It is sometimes more honourable to yield to a demand 
than to meet it with defiance ; and the prince who 
removed a cause of war arising out of mere national 
vanity, while at the same time he maintained in all 
essential points the interests and dignity of his kingdom, 
deserved well of his subjects, and merits the approval 
of the historian. As a man, Phraates has left behind 
him a bad name : he was cruel, selfish, and ungrateful, 
a fratricide, and a parricide ; but as a king he is worthy 
of respect, and in certain points of admiration. 

1 From the year of the campaign j a period of ninety-four years, 
of Antony (b.c. 36) to the com- J 3 Till the attack of Trajan, a.d. 
mencement of the war between I 114, fifty-two years after the end 
Vologeses I. and Nero (a.d. 58) was I of the war with Nero. 

Ch. XIV.] 




Short Reigns of Phraataces, Orodes II, and Vanones I. Accession of 
Artabanus III. His relation* with Germanicns and Tiberius. His 
War with Pharasmanes of Iberia. His First Expulsion from his King- 
dom, and return to it. His Peace with Home. Internal Troubles of 
the Parthian Kingdom. Second Expulsion and Heturn of Artabanus. 
His Death. 

' Mota Orientia regna, provinciaeque Romans, initio a pud Parthos orto.' 

Tacit. Ann. ii. 1. 

The accession of Pliraataces made no difference in the 
attitude of Parthia towards Armenia. The young prince 
was as anxious as his father had been to maintain the 
Parthian claims to that country, and at first perhaps as 
inclined to believe that Augustus would not dispute 
them. Immediately upon his accession, he sent am- 
bassadors to Eome announcing the fact, apologising for 
the circumstances under which it had taken place, and 
proposing a renewal of the peace which had subsisted 
between Augustus and his father. 1 Apparently, he 
said nothing about Armenia, but preferred a demand 
for the surrender of his four brothers, whom no doubt 
he designed to destroy. The answer of Augustus was 

1 Dio Cass. lv. 11. It has been 
usual to regard this passage of Dio 
(recovered from the Excerpt, de 
Legationibns) as belonging to the 
reign of Phraates IV., and not of 
Phraataces; but I have no doubt 
that it refers to the latter. The 

phrase tovq a$t\<boi)Q t7ri tiprjry dn- 

aiTwv is by itself decisive. There 
were no brothers of Phraates at 
Rome whom he could demand. 
Neither could Augustus have called 
in question the royal title of 

Phraates, with whom he had kept 
up diplomatic intercourse as un- 
questioned King of Parthia for 
nearly thirty years. The miscon- 
ception has arisen from the name. 
But it should be remembered that 
the form Phraataces is a mere di- 
minutive of Phraates, and that it 
is found only in Josephus, whose 
Parthian names are not always to 
be depended upon. (See note 2 on 
p. 214.) 



[Cn. XIV. 

severe in the extreme. Addressing Phraataces by his 
bare name, without adding the title of king, lie re- 
quired him to lay aside the royal appellation, which he 
had arrogantly and without any warrant assumed, and 
at the same time to withdraw his forces from Armenia. 1 
On the surrender of the Parthian princes he kept 
silence, ignoring a demand which he had no intention 
of according. It was clearly his design to set up one 
of the elder brothers as a rival claimant to Phraataces, 
or at any rate to alarm him with the notion that, unless 
he made concessions, this policy would be adopted. 
But Phraataces was not to be frightened by a mere 
message. He responded to Augustus after his own 
fashion, despatching to him a letter wherein he took 
to himself the favourite Parthian title of 'king of 
kings,' and addressed the Eoman Emperor simply as 
' Caesar.' 2 The attitude of defiance would no doubt 
have been maintained, had Augustus confined himself 
to menaces ; when, however, it appeared that active mea- 
sures would be taken, when Augustus, in B.C. 1, sent his 
grandson, Caius, to the East, with orders to re-establish 
the Eoman influence in Armenia even at the cost of a 
Parthian war, and that prince showed himself in Syria 
with all the magnificent surroundings of the Imperial 
dignity, the Parthian monarch became alarmed. He 
had an interview with Caius in the spring of a.d. 1, 
upon an island in the Euphrates ; 3 where the terms of 
an arrangement between the two Empires were dis- 

1 Dio Cass. lv. 11. 16 Tt ovofia to 
fSaoiXucdv Ka-aOkoOai 1 KaiT)'iQ'Apfxtviog 
airoffTrjvdi 7rpo<xsTa^(. 

2 Ibid. 'O ndpOoQ oix offov ou 
KCLTiTTTyfaV) aWa kuI avTtypaxpev oi 

TO. Ti. a\\a VTTtptypOVWC, Kill aVTQV 

fikv fiaatXsa fiaviXeiov iicuvov dt 
Kaicrapa fiovov 6vop.ciaac. 

3 Veil. Pat. ii. 101. " This inter- 

view is placed by some in a.d. 2 
(Clinton, F. II. vol. iii. p. 202; 
Merivale, Roman Empire, vol. iv. 
pp. 285, 286) ; but it seems un- 
likely that Caius would have de- 
layed so long the main purpose of 
his Eastern expedition. In the 
Tauclmitz edition of Velleius, the 
date a.d. 1 is given for it. 



cussed and settled. The armies of the two chiefs were 
drawn up on the opposite banks of the river, facing 
one another ; and the chiefs themselves, accompanied 
by an equal number of attendants, proceeded to de- 
liberate in the sight of both hosts. Satisfactory pledges 
having been given by the Parthian monarch, the 
prince and king in turn entertained each other on the 
borders of their respective dominions ; * and Cains 
returned into Syria, having obtained an engagement 
from the Parthians to abstain from any further inter- 
ference with Armenian affairs. 2 The engagement ap- 
pears to have been honourably kept ; for when, shortly 
afterwards, fresh complications occurred, and Caius in 
endeavouring to settle them received his death-wound 
before the w T alls of an Armenian town, 3 we do not 
hear of Parthia as in any way involved in the un- 
fortunate occurrence. The Eomans and their partisans 
in the country were left to settle the Armenian succes- 
sion as they pleased ; and Parthia kept herself wholly 
aloof from the matters transacted upon her borders. 

One cause— perhaps the main cause — of this ab- 
stinence, and of the engagement to abstain entered 
into by Phraataces, was doubtless the unsettled state 
of things in Parthia itself. 4 The circumstances under 

1 Velleius, who gives these de- 
tails, was himself present at the 
meeting, and evidently regards it 
as an event of first-rate importance. 
* Quod spectaculum,' he says, 
1 stantis ex diverso, hinc Romani, 
illinc Parthorum exercitus, cum 
duo inter se eminentissima imperi- 
orum et hominum coirent capita, 
perquam clarum et memorabile, sub 
initia stipendiorum meorum, tri- 
bune* militum mihi visere contigit.' 
That Phraataces, and not Phraates, 
was the Parthian monarch present 
appears from the MS. reading of 
the preceding sentence, which runs 

thus : ' Cum rege Parthorum, 
eminentissimo juvene, in insula 
quam amnis Euphrates ambiebat, 
sequato utriusque partis numero, 
coiit.' Recent editors have altered 
' eminentissimo juvene' into ' emi- 
nentissimus juvenis.' 

3 Dio Cass. lv. 11. '0 oe Srj 
fypacnriQ Kari]\\ayi] iiri T(jj t?iq 'Ap- 

fiti'iac airocriivai. 

3 y - 

§ 65 ; Tacit. Ann. i. 3 j Zonaras, 
p. 539, D. 

4 Dio (l.s.c.) notes this, assign- 
ing two reasons for the withdrawal 
of the Parthian claims to Armenia, 



[On. XIV. 

which that prince had made himself king, though not 
unparalleled in the Parthian annals, were such as 
naturally tended towards civil strife, and as were apt to 
produce in Parthia internal difficulties, if not disorders 
or commotions. Phraataces soon found that he would 
have a hard task to establish his rule. The nobles 
objected to him, not only the murder of his father, 
but his descent from an Italian concubine, and the 
incestuous commerce which he was supposed to main- 
tain with her. 1 They had perhaps grounds for this last 
charge. At any rate Phraataces provoked suspicion 
by the singular favours and honours which he granted 
to a woman whose origin was mean and extraction 
foreign. Not content with private marks of esteem and 
love, he departed from the practice of all former Parthian 
sovereigns 2 in placing her effigy upon his coins ; and 
he accompanied this act with fulsome and absurd titles. 
Musa was styled, not merely ' Queen,' but ' Heavenly 
Goddess,' 3 as if the realities of slave origin and con- 
cubinage could be covered by the fiction of an 

the presence of Caius in Syria, and 
the Parthian king's expectation of 
disturbances among his subjects (rd 

oUtla TapOTTOUBva fiiati avTOV v~tri- 


1 Joseph. Ant. Jud. xviii. 2, § 4. 

3 It is perhaps doubtful whether 
Phraates IV. had not done the 
same during his later years, as, 
Mionnet (Medailles, supplement, 
torn. viii. pp. 441-443) and Mr. 

Lindsay (History and Coinage, 
p. 149) imagine. On the whole, 
however, I incline to the belief 
that the Musa coins belong wholly 
to Phraataces. 

3 The coins of Phraataces have 
on the one side his head, which is 
being crowned by two Victories j 
on the other the head of Musa, 
with the legend MOYSH2 BA2I- 
A122H2 GEAS 0YPAN1A2. 


Cn. XIV.] 



apotheosis. It is not surprising that the proud Parthian 
nobles were offended by these proceedings, and deter- 
mined to rid themselves of a monarch whom they at 
once hated and despised. Within a few years of his 
obtaining the throne an insurrection broke out against 
his authority ; and after a brief struggle he was de- 
prived of his crown and put to death. 1 The nobles 
then elected an Arsacid, named Orodes, whose resi- 
dence at the time and relationship to the former 
monarchs arc uncertain. It seems probable 2 that, like 
most princes of the blood royal, he had taken refuge 
in a foreign country from the suspicions and dangers 
that beset all possible pretenders to the royal dignity 
in Parthia, and was living in retirement, unexpectant 
of any such offer, when a deputation of Parthian 
nobles arrived and brought him the intelligence of his 
election. It might have been expected that, obtain- 
ing the crown under these circumstances, he would 
have ruled well ; but, according to Josephus (who is 
here, unfortunately, our sole authority), he very soon 
displayed so much violence and cruelty of disposition, 
that his rule was felt to be intolerable ; and the Par- 
tisans, again breaking into insurrection, rid themselves 
of him, killing him either at a banquet or on a hunting 
excursion. 3 This done, they sent to Borne, and re- 
quested Augustus to allow Vonones, the eldest son of 
Phraates IV., to return to Parthia in order that he 
might receive his father's kingdom. 4 The Emperor 

They bear the three dates IT, AIT, 
and EIT, or B.C. 2, B.C. 1, and a.d. 
4. (See for the last-mentioned 
date, Numismatic Chronicle, New 
Series, No. xliii. p. 218.) _ 

1 Joseph. Ant. Jud. xviii. 2, § 4. 

2 This seems to follow from the 
expression used by Josephus, 6i 

ytvvaturaTOi TlapOwv . . . 'OpojCrjV 

skciXovv Trpivfit vaavr eq. 

3 Joseph. 1. s. c. The violent 
deaths of at least two kings between 
Phraates IV. and Artabanus III. are 
attested by Tacitus {Ann. ii. 2), who 
says : ' Post fineni Phraatis et sequcn- 
tium regum ob internets cccdcsj &c. 

4 Tacit. Ann. l.s.c. ; Joseph, 
l.s.c. ; Suet. Tib. § 16. 


complied readily enough, since lie regarded his own 
dignity as advanced by the transaction ; and the Par- 
thians at first welcomed the object of their choice with 
rejoicings. But after a little time their sentiments 
altered. The young prince, bred up in Eome, and 
accustomed to the refinements of Western civilisation, 
neglected the occupations which seemed to his subjects 
alone worthy of a monarch's regard, absented himself 
from the hunting-field, took small pleasure in riding, 
when he passed through the streets indulged in the 
foreign luxury of a litter, shrank with disgust from 
the rude and coarse feastings which formed a portion 
of the national manners. He had, moreover, brought 
with him from the place of his exile a number of 
Greek companions, whom the Parthians despised and 
ridiculed ; and the favours bestowed on these foreign 
interlopers were seen with jealousy and rage. It was 
in vain that he endeavoured to conciliate his offended 
subjects by the openness of his manners and the facility 
with which he allowed access to his person. In their 
prejudiced eyes virtues and graces unknown to the 
nation hitherto were not merits but defects, 1 and rather 
increased than diminished their aversion. Having con- 
ceived a dislike for the monarch personally, they began 
to look back with dissatisfaction on their own act in 
sending for him. ' Parthia,' they said, ' had indeed de- 
generated from her former self to have requested a king 
to be sent her who belonged to another world and had 
had a hostile civilisation ingrained into him. All the 
glory gained by destroying Crassus and repulsing Antony 
was utterly lost and gone, if the country was to be 
ruled by Csesar's bond-slave, and the throne of the 
Arsacidae to be treated like a Koman province. It 

IgnotaD Parthis virtutes noya vitia.' (Tacit, l.s.c.) 

On. XIV.] 



would have been bad enough to have had a prince 
imposed on them by the will of a superior, if they 
had been conquered; it was worse, in all respects 
worse, to suffer such an insult, when they had not 
even had war made on them.' Under the influence of 
such feelings as these, the Parthians, after tolerating 
Vonones for a few years, rose against him (ab. a.d. 16), 
and summoned Artabanus, an Arsacid who had grown 
to manhood among the Dahae of the Caspian region, 
but was at this time king of Media Atropatene, to 
rule over them. 1 

It was seldom that a crown was declined in the 
ancient world ; and Artabanus, on receiving the over- 
ture, at once expressed his willingness to accept the 
proffered dignity. He invaded Parthia at the head of 
an army consisting of his own subjects, and engaged 
Yonones, to whom in his difficulties the bulk of the 
Parthian people had rallied. The engagement resulted 
in the defeat of the Median monarch, 2 who returned 
to his own country, and, having collected a larger 
army, made a second invasion. This time he was 
successful. Vonones fled on horseback to Seleucia 
with a small body of followers; while his defeated 
army, following in his track, was pressed upon by the 
victorious Mede, and suffered great losses. Artabanus 

1 Tacit. Ann. ii. 3. 'Apud Dallas 
adultus.' Joseph. Ant. Jud. l.s.c. 
'Aprafiavov ~Mr]deiag fiaoiXevovTa, 
y'tvog ' ApactKiSuiv. 

2 Vonones commemorated his 
victory in the Roman fashion by 

striking coins which bore upon the 
one side his head, with the legend 
BASIAETS 0NQNH2; and on the 
other a Victory, with the legend 




[Ch. XIV. 

having entered Ctesiphon in triumph, was immediately 
proclaimed king. 1 Vonones, escaping from Selencia, 
took refuge among the Armenians ; and, as it happened 
that just at this time the Armenian throne was vacant, 
not only was an asylum granted him, but he was 
made king of the country. 2 It was impossible that 
Artabanus should tamely submit to an arrangement 
which would have placed his deadly enemy in a 
position to cause him constant annoyance. He, there- 
fore, at once remonstrated, both in Armenia and at 
Kome. As Borne now claimed the investiture of the 
Armenian monarchs, he sent an embassy to Tiberius, 
and threatened war if Vonones were acknowledged ; 
while at the same time he applied to Armenia and 
required the surrender of the refugee. An important 
section of the Armenian nation was inclined to grant 
his demand ; 3 Tiberius, who would willingly have 
supported Vonones, drew back before the Parthian 
threats ; 4 Vonones found himself in imminent danger, 
and, under the circumstances, determined on quitting 
Armenia and betaking himself to the protection of the 
Eoman governor of Syria. This was Creticus Silanus, 
who received him gladly, gave him a guard, and 
allowed him the state and title of king. 5 Meanwhile 
Artabanus laid claim to Armenia, and suggested as a 
candidate for the throne one of his own sons, Orodes. 6 

1 Joseph. 1.8.c. 

2 Tacit. Ann. ii. 4. 

3 Oi Tctpi "SicpciTtjv SvvciToi TUIV 
'Apfieviujv 'ApTa[3avn> TrpooriOtvTai. 

(Joseph. 1.8.c.) 

4 Josephus expresses this broadly. 
'O Tifitpiog avT(p aiTUirt, npbq . . . 
tov UapQov rag air siXdg. Tacitus 

implies it when he says : ' Si nostra 
vi defenderetur, bellum adversus 
Parthos sumendum erat.' 

5 Tacit. Ann. ii. 4, ad Jin. 

6 Joseph. Ant. Jud. xviii. 2, § 4, 

ad Jin. It is supposed by some that 
Josephus in this passage re.ers to 
the establishment of Arsace,-% an- 
other son of Artabanus, on the 
throne of Armenia, nearly twenty 
years afterwards. But the close 
connection of the clause with one 
in which he speaks of Vonones as 
guarded in Syria, limits the date to 
a.d. 16-18. That Artabanus had 
a son, Orodes, distinct from Arsaces, 
king of Armenia, appears from Tacit. 
Ann. vi. 33. 


Under these circumstances, the Eoman Emperor, 
Tiberius, who had recently succeeded Augustus, re- 
solved to dispatch to the East a personage of import- 
ance, who should command the respect and attention 
of the Oriental powers by his dignity, and impose 
upon them by the pomp and splendour with which he 
was surrounded. He selected for this office Germanicus, 
his nephew, the eldest son of his deceased brother, 
Drusus, a prince of much promise, amiable in his dis- 
position, courteous and affable in his manners, a good 
soldier, and a man generally popular. The more to 
strike the minds of the Orientals, he gave Germanicus 
no usual title or province, but invested him with an 
extraordinary command over all the Eoman dominions 
to the east of the Hellespont, 1 thus rendering him a 
sort of monarch of Eoman Asia. Full powers were 
granted him for making peace or war, for levying 
troops, annexing provinces, appointing subject kings, 
and performing other sovereign acts, without referring 
back to Eome for instructions. A train of unusual 
magnificence accompanied him to his charge, calculated 
to impress the Orientals with the conviction that this 
was no common negotiator. Germanicus arrived in Asia 
early in a.d. 18, and applied himself at once to his 
task. Entering Armenia at the head of his troops, he 
proceeded to the capital, Artaxata, 2 and having as- 
certained the wishes of the Armenians themselves, 
determined on his course of conduct. To have 
insisted on the restoration of Vonones would have 
been grievously to offend the Armenians who had 
expelled him, and at the same time to provoke the 
Parthians, who could not have tolerated a pretender in 

1 ' Pernrissa: Germanico provin- I Ann. ii. 43. 
ciae, quae mari dividuntur.' Tac. | 3 Ibid. ii. 56. 


a position of power upon their borders; to have 
allowed the pretensions of the Parthian monarch, and 
accepted the candidature of his son, Orodes, would 
have lowered Kome in the opinion of all the surround- 
ing nations, and been equivalent to an abdication of all 
influence in the affairs of Western Asia. Germanicus 
avoided either extreme, and found happily a middle 
course. It happened that there was a foreign prince 
settled in Armenia, who having grown up there had 
assimilated himself in all respects to the Armenian 
ideas and habits, and had thereby won golden opinions 
from botli the nobles and the people. This was Zeno, 
the son of Polemo, once king of the curtailed Pontus, 
and afterwards of the Lesser Armenia, 1 an outlying 
Eoman dependency. The Armenians themselves sug- 
gested that Zeno should be their monarch ; and Ger- 
manicus saw a way out of his difficulties in the 
suggestion. At the seat of government, Artaxata, in 
the presence of a vast multitude of the people, with 
the consent and approval of the principal nobles, he 
placed with his own hand the diadem on the brow of 
the favoured prince, and saluted him as king under the 
new name of ' Artaxias.' 2 He then returned into 
Syria, where he was shortly afterwards visited by am- 
bassadors from the Parthian monarch. 3 Artabanus 
reminded him of the peace concluded between Eome 

1 See above, p. 205, note 5 . which is true, but not of much im- 

2 Tacitus says (1. s. c.) that the | portance, since the derivation would 
name was taken from that of the scarcely occur to either Zeno or his 
city Artaxata, which is absurd ; subjects. What was needed was 
for Artaxata is Artaxiasata, ' Ar- 
taxias's city ' (compare Samosata, 
and see Strab. xi. 14, § G), mid 
itself took its name from the first 
Artaxias. Dean Merivale observes 
that the word ' signified greatness 
or sovereignty' (vol. v. p. 192) \ 

that the ne.v Icing should exchange 
his Greek name for a native one. 
He chose Artaxias as that of two 
previous monarchs who had dis- 
tinguished themselves. 
3 Tacit. Ann. ii. 58. 

Cn. XIV.] 



and Parthia in the reign of Augustus, and assumed 
that the circumstances of his own appointment to the 
throne had in no way interfered with it. He would 
be glad, he said, to renew with Germanicus the inter- 
change of friendly assurances which had passed be- 
tween his predecessor, Phraataces, and Caius ; and to 
accommodate the Eoman general, he would willingly 
come to meet him as far as the Euphrates ; meanwhile, 
until the meeting could take place, he must request 
that Vonones should be removed to a greater distance 
from the Parthian frontier, and that he should not be 
allowed to continue the correspondence in which he 
was engaged with many of the Parthian nobles for the 
purpose of raising fresh troubles. Germanicus replied 
politely, but indefinitely, to the proposal of an interview, 
which he may have thought unnecessary, and open to 
misconstruction. To the request for the removal of 
Yonones he consented. 1 Vonones was transferred from 
Syria to the neighbouring province of Cilicia ; and the 
city of Pompeiopolis, buift by the great Pompey on 
the site of the ancient Soli, was assigned to him as his 
residence. With this arrangement the Parthian monarch 
appears to have been contented. Vonones on the 
other hand was so dissatisfied with the change that in 
the course of the next year (a.d. 19) he endeavoured 
to make his escape ; his flight was, however, discovered, 
and pursuit being made, he was overtaken and slain on 
the banks of the Pyramus. 2 Thus perished ingloriously 
one of the least blameable and most unfortunate of the 
Parthian princes. 

1 Germanicus was believed to be 
actuated on this occasion in part by 
his hostility to the governor of 
Syria, Piso, and his wife, Plancina, 
whom Vonones had courted. But 

it may be doubted whether he 
allowed motives of this kind to 
influence him. 

2 Tacit. Ann. ii. G8. 




[Cn. XIV. 


After the death of Germanicus, in a.d. 19, the 
details of the Parthian history are for some years un- 
known to us. It appears that 
during this interval Artabanus was 
engaged in wars with several of 
the nations upon his borders, 1 
and met with so much success 
that lie came after a while to 
desire, rather than fear, a rupture 
with Borne. He knew that Ti- 
berius was now an old man, 2 and that he was dis- 
inclined to engage in distant wars ; he was aware that 
Germanicus was dead ; and he was probably not much 
afraid of L. Vitellius, the governor of Syria, who had 
been recently deputed by Tiberius to administer that 
province. 3 Accordingly in a.d. 34, the Armenian 
throne being once more vacant by the death of Ar- 
taxias (Zeno), he suddenly seized the country, and 
appointed his eldest son, whom Dio and Tacitus call 
simply Arsaces, 4 to be king. At the same time he sent 
ambassadors to require the restoration of the treasure 
which Vonones had carried off from Parthia and had 
left behind him in Syria or Cilicia. To this plain and 
definite demand were added certain vague threats, or 
boasts, to the effect that he was the rightful master of 
all the territory that had belonged of old to Macedonia 
or Persia, and that it was his intention to resume 
possession of the provinces, whereto, as the representa- 

1 Tacit. Ann. vi. 81. 

2 Tiberius was seventy-five in 
a.d. 34. 

3 Vitellius, who was made consul 
at the beginning of a.d. 34, appears 
(like Germanicus) to ha\ eat once 
set out for his province. (See 
Joseph. Ant. Jud. xviii. 4, § 2, 

and compare Burton, Hist, of First 
Three Centuries, vol. i. p. 125.) 

4 It is almost certain that this 
prince must have had some real 
personal name besides the family 
title of Arsaces. (See Strab. xv. 1, 


tive of Cyrus and Alexander, he was entitled. 1 He is 
said to have even commenced operations against Cap- 
padocia, 2 which was an actual portion of the Eoman 
Empire, when he found that Tiberius, so far from 
resenting the seizure of Armenia, had sent instructions 
to Vitellius, that he was to cultivate peaceful relations 
with Parthia. 8 Apparently he thought that a good 
opportunity had arisen for picking a quarrel with his 
Western neighbour, and w r as determined to take ad- 
vantage of it. The aged despot, hidden in his retreat 
of Caprea), seemed to him a pure object of contempt ; 
and he entertained the confident hope of defeating his 
armies and annexing portions of his territory. 

But Tiberius w^as under no circumstances a man to 
be wholly despised. Simultaneously with the Parthian 
demands and threats, intelligence reached him that the 
subjects of Artabanus were greatly dissatisfied with 
his rule, and that it would be easy by fomenting the 
discontent to bring about a revolution. 4 Some of the 
nobles even went in person to Eome (a.d. 35), and 
suggested that if Phraates, one of the surviving sons 
of Phraates IV., were to appear under Eoman pro- 
tection upon the banks of the Euphrates, an insurrec- 
tion would immediately break out. Artabanus, they 
said, among his other cruelties, had put to death almost 
all the adult males of the Arsacid family ; a successful 
revolution could not be hoped for without an Arsacid 
leader ; if Tiberius, however, would deliver to them the 
prince for whom they asked, this difficulty would be 
removed, and there was then every reason to expect a 

1 Tacit. Ann. vi. 31. j <pi\iav 7rpog 'Aprafiavov tov TlapOujv 

2 Dio Hass. lviii. 20. fiamXecf eQoftn yao avrov i\0pog tbv f 

3 Joseph. Ant. Jud. XVlii. 4, § 4. <ai 'Apptrlav iraptaira<Tfikvoc f fiq ini 
TlifiTrei £i Kai Ti(3fpiog ojg OuiriWiov 7r\fnv KitKovpyy, 

avruv Trpaaativ j 4 Tacit. Ann. l.S.c. 


happy issue to the rebellion. The Emperor was not 
hard to persuade ; he no doubt argued, that whatever 
became of the attempt and those engaged in it, one 
result at least was certain — Artabanus would find 
plenty of work to occupy him at home, and would 
desist from his foreign aggressions. He therefore let 
Phraates take his departure and proceed to Syria, glad 
to meet the danger which had threatened him by craft 
and policy rather than by force of arms. 1 

Artabanus soon became aware of the intrigue. He 
found that the chief conspirators in Parthia were a 
certain Sinnaces, a nobleman distinguished alike for his 
high birth and his great riches, and a eunuch named 
Abdus, who held a position about the court, and was 
otherwise a personage of importance. It would have 
been easy to seize these two men, and execute them ; 
but Artabanus was uncertain how far the conspiracy 
extended, and thought it ' most prudent to defer bring- 
ing matters to a crisis. He therefore dissembled, and 
was content to cause a delay, first'by administering to 
Abdus a slow poison, and then by engaging Sinnaces 
so constantly in affairs of state, that he had little or 
no time to devote to plotting. Successful thus far by 
his own cunning and dexterity, he was further helped 
by a stroke of good fortune, on which he could not 
have calculated. Phraates, who thought that after 
forty years of residence in Eome, it was necessary to 
fit himself for the position of Parthian king by re- 
suming the long-disused habits of his nation, was 
carried off, after a short residence in Syria, by a 
disease, which he was supposed to have contracted 

1 'Destinata retinens, consiliis I procul habere.' Tac. Ann. vi. 32. 
et astu res externas moliri ; arma | 


through the change in his mode of life. 1 His death 
must for the time have paralysed the conspirators, and 
have greatly relieved Artabanus. It was perhaps now, 
under the stimulus of a sudden change from feelings of 
extreme alarm to fancied security, that he wrote the 
famous letter to Tiberius, in which he reproached 
him for his cruelty, cowardice, and luxuriousness of 
living, and recommended him to satisfy the just desires 
of the subjects who hated him, by an immediate 
suicide. 1 ' 

This letter, if genuine, must be pronounced under 
any circumstances a folly ; and if really sent at this 
time, it may have had tragical consequences. It is 
remarkable that Tiberius, on learning the death of 
Phraates, instead of relaxing, intensified his efforts. 
JSTot only did he at once send out to Syria another pre- 
tender, Tiridates, a nephew of the deceased prince, 3 
in order to replace him, but he made endeavours, such 
as we do not hear of before, to engage other nations 
in the struggle ; 4 and further, he enlarged the com- 
mission of Vitellius, giving him a general superintend- 
ence over the affairs of the East. Thus Artabanus 
found himself in greater peril than ever, and if he had 
really indulged in the silly effusion ascribed to him, was 
rightly punished. Pharasmanes, king of Iberia, a 
portion of the modern Georgia, incited by Tiberius, 

1 Tacit, l.s.c. ; Dio Cass, lviii. 26. so, Tacitus would most certainly 

2 Sueton. Tib. § 60 : — ' Quin et have mentioned it. Tacitus calls 
Artabani, Parthoruin regis, lacer- ! him 'sanguinis ejusdem' (of the 
atus est Uteris, parricidia et caedes ! same family), and speaks of the 
et ignaviam et luxuriam objicientis, elder Phraates (Phraates IV.) as 
monentisque ut voluntaria morte his grandfather (Ann. vi. -37), but 
maximo justissimoque civium odio leaves us to guess which son of this 
quamprimum satisfaceret.' ! king was his father. I suspect it was 

3 Dean Merivale calls Tiridates ! either lihodaspes or Seraspadanes. 
'the son of Phraates' (Rom. Empire, 4 Tacit. Ann. vi. 32; Joseph. 
vol. v. p. 416) ; but if this had been Ant. Jud. xviii. 4, § 4. 


took the field (a.d. 35), and proclaimed bis intention 
of placing his brother, Mithridates, on the Armenian 
throne. 1 Having by corruption succeeded in bringing 
about the murder of Arsaces by his attendants, 2 he 
marched into Armenia, and became master of the 
capital without meeting any resistance. Artabanus, 
upon this, sent his son Orodes to maintain the Parthian 
cause in the disputed province ; but he proved no 
match for the Iberian, who was superior in numbers, 
in the variety of his troops, and in familiarity with the 
localities. Pharasmanes had obtained the assistance of 
his neighbours, the Albanians, and, opening the passes 
of the Caucasus, had admitted through them a number 
of the Scythic or Sarmatian hordes, 3 who were always 
ready, when their swords were hired, to take a part in 
the quarrels of the south. Orodes was unable to procure 
either mercenaries or allies, 4 and had to contend un- 
assisted against the three enemies who had joined their 
forces to oppose him. For some time he prudently 
declined an engagement ; but it was difficult to restrain 
the ardour of his troops, whom the enemy exasperated 
by their reproaches. 5 After a while he was compelled 
to accept the battle which Pharasmanes incessantly 
offered. His force consisted entirely of cavalry, while 
Pharasmanes had besides his horse a powerful body of 
infantry. The battle was nevertheless stoutly contested ; 

1 Tiberius had suggested this | have sold their services to both 
candidate. (Tacit. Ann. l.s.c.) sides ; but the Iberians guarded the 

2 Ibid. vi. 3f3. main pass through the Caucasus ; 

3 Tacitus calls them Sarmatians and lli^ Derbend pass, between the 
{Ann. vi. 3o): Josephus, Scyths mountains and the Caspian, was 
(Ant. Jxd. xviii. 4, § 4). Both (according to Tacitus) impassable 
writers absurdly bring them through during the summer time, being 
i the Caspian Gates '; but it is cigar then Hooded by the sea. (Ann. 
that the Mozdok paes of the Cau- ' l.s.c.) 

casus is meant. : ' Ibid. vi. 34. 

4 The Sarmatifiiis were roadv to ' 


and the victory might have been doubtful, had it not 
happened that in a hand-to-hand combat between the 
two commanders, Orodes was struck to the ground by 
his antagonist, and thought by most of his own men 
to be killed. 1 As usual under such circumstances in 
the East, a rout followed. If w T e may believe Josephus, 2 
'many lens of thousands ' were slain. Armenia was 
wholly lost ; and Artabanus found himself left with 
diminished resources and tarnished fame to meet the 
intrigues of his domestic enemies. 

Still, he would not succumb without an effort. In 
the spring of a.d. 36, having levied the whole force of 
the Empire, he took the field and marched northwards, 
determined, if possible, to revenge himself on the Ibe- 
rians and recover his lost province. 3 But his first efforts 
were unsuccessful ; and before he could renew them, 
Vitellius put himself at the head of his legions, and 
marching towards the Euphrates threatened Meso- 
potamia with invasion. Placed thus betw r een two fires, 
the Parthian monarch felt that he had no choice but to 
withdraw from Armenia and return to the defence of 
his own proper territories, which in his absence must 
have lain temptingly open to an enemy. His return 
caused Vitellius to change his tactics. Instead of 
measuring his strength against that which still re- 
mained to Artabanus, he resumed the weapon of in- 
trigue so dear to his master, and proceeded by a lavish 
expenditure of money 4 to excite disaffection once 
more among the Parthian nobles. This time con- 
spiracy w r as successful. The military disasters of the 

1 Tacit. Ann. vi. 35. 

2 Ant. Jud. l.s.c. 

3 Tacit. Ann. vi. 3(3. 

4 Uofiinj xprjuaTojv tig re avyytutls 
Kni <pi\ov<: Tuvg tttiivov. (Joseph. 
Ant. Jud. l.s.c.) Tacitus omits 
tins feature. 



[Ch. XIV. 

last two years had alienated from Artabanus the affec- 
tions of those whom his previous cruelties had failed 
to disgust or alarm ; and he found himself without any 
armed force whereon he could rely, beyond a small 
body of foreign guards which he maintained about 
his person. It seemed to him that his only safety was 
in flight ; and accordingly he quitted his capital and 
removed himself hastily into Hyrcania, which was in 
the immediate vicinity of the Scythian Daha3, among 
whom he had been brought up. Here the natives 
were friendly to him, and he lived a retired life, waiting 
(as he said) until the Parthians, who could judge an 
absent prince with equity, though they could not long 
continue faithful to a present one, should repent of 
their behaviour to him. 1 

Upon learning the flight of Artabanus, Vitellius ad- 
vanced to the banks of the Euphrates, and introduced 
Tiridates into his kingdom. 2 Fortunate omens were 
said to have accompanied the passage of the river ; 
and these were followed by adhesions of greater im- 
portance. Ornospades, satrap of Mesopotamia, was 
the first to join the standard of the pretender with a 
large body of horse. He was followed by the con- 
spirator Sinnaces, his father Abdageses, the keeper of 
the king's treasures, and other personages of high 
position. The Greek cities in Mesopotamia readily 
opened their gates to a monarch long domiciled at 
Borne, from whom they expected a politeness and 
refinement that would harmonise better with their 
feelings than the manners of the late king, bred up 
among the uncivilised Scyths. Parthian towns, like 

1 i Interim posse Parthos, ab- 
sentium sequos, prsesentibus mo- 
biles, ad pcenitentiam mutari.' Tac. 

Ann. vi. 36, ad fin. 

2 Ibid. vi. 37. The Roman 
general almost immediately retired. 


Ilalus and Artemita, 1 followed their example. Seleucia, 
the second city in the Empire, received the new 
monarch with an obsequiousness that bordered on 
adulation.- Not content with paying him all customary 
royal honours, they appended to their acclamations 
disparaging remarks upon his predecessor, whom they 
affected to regard as the issue of an adulterous intrigue, 
and as no true Arsacid. Tiridates was pleased to reward 
the unseemly flattery of these degenerate Greeks by a 
nrw arrangement of their constitution. Hitherto they 
had lived under the government of a Senate of Three 
Hundred members, the wisest and wealthiest of the 
citizens, a certain control being, however, secured to 
the people. Artabanus had recently modified the con- 
stitution in an aristocratic sense ; and therefore Tiridates 
pursued the contrary course, and established an un- 
bridled democracy in the place of a mixed govern- 
ment. He then entered Ctesiphon, the capital, and 
after waiting some days- for certain noblemen, who had 
expressed a wish to attend his coronation but con- 
tinually put off their coming, he was crowned in the 
ordinary manner by the Surena of the time being, in 
the sight and amid the acclamations of a vast multi- 

The pretender now regarded his work as completed, 
and forbore any further efforts. The example of the 
Western provinces would, he assumed, be followed by 
the Eastern, and the monarch approved by Mesopo- 
tamia, Babylonia, and the capital would carry, as a 
matter of course, the rest of the nation. Policy required 
that the general acquiescence should not have been 

1 Tacit. Ann. vi. 41. Artemita 
wa9 in Sittac£ne, not far from Ctesi- 
phon (Strab. xvi. 1, § 7). The site 

of Halus is unknown. 
2 Tacit. Ami. vi. 42. 

236 the sixth monarchy. [Ch. xiv. 

taken for grunted. Tiridates should have made a 
military progress through the East, no less than the 
West, 1 and have sought out his rival in the distant 
Hyrcania, and slain him, or driven him beyond the 
borders. Instead of thus occupying himself, he was 
content to besiege a stronghold where Artabanus had 
left his treasure and his harem. This conduct was 
imprudent ; and the imprudence cost him his crown. 
That fickle temper which Artabanus had noted in his 
countrymen began to work so soon as the new king- 
was well installed in his office ; the coveted post of 
chief vizier could but be assigned to one, and the 
selection of the fortunate individual was the disappoint- 
ment of a host of expectants ; nobles absent from the 
coronation, whether by choice or necessity, began to 
be afraid that their absence would cost them dear, 
when Tiridates had time to reflect upon it and to listen 
to their detractors. The thoughts of the malcontents 
turned towards their dethroned monarch ; and emis- 
saries were dispatched to seek him out, and put before 
him the project of a restoration. He was found in 
Hyrcania, in a miserable dress and plight, living on 
the produce of his bow. At first he suspected the 
messengers, believing that their intention was to seize 
him and deliver him up to Tiridates ; but it was not 
long ere they persuaded him that, whether their affec- 
tion for himself were true or feigned, their enmity to 
Tiridates was real. 2 They had indeed no worse charges 
to bring against this prince than his youth, and the 
softness of his Eoman breeding ; but they were evi- 
dently in earnest, and had committed themselves too 
deeply to make it possible for them to retract. Arta- 

1 Tacit. Ann. vi. 43. I in amore, odia non fingere.' (Tacit. 

2 ' Sensit vetus regnandi, falsos | Ann. vi. 44.) 



banus, therefore, accepted their offers, and having ob- 
tained the services of a body of Dahse and other 
Scyths, 1 proceeded westward, retaining the miserable 
garb and plight in which he had been found, in order 
to draw men to his side by pity ; and making all haste, 
in order that his enemies might have less opportunity 
to prepare obstructions and his friends less time to 
change their minds. He reached the neighbourhood 
of Ctesiphon while Tiridates was still doubting what he 
should do, distracted between the counsels of some who 
recommended an immediate engagement with the rebels 
before they recovered from the fatigues of their long 
march or grew accustomed to act together", and of others 
who advised a retreat into Mesopotamia, reliance upon 
the Armenians and other tribes of the north, 2 and a 
union with the Eoman troops, which Vitellius, on the 
first news of what had happened, had thrown across the 
Euphrates. The more timid counsel had the support 
of Abdageses, whom Tiridates had made his vizier, 
and therefore naturally prevailed, the prince himself 
being moreover of an unwarlike temper. It had, 
in appearance, much to recommend it ; and if its 
execution had been in the hands of Occidentals, might 
have succeeded. But, in the East, the first movement 
in retreat is taken as a confession of weakness and 
almost as an act of despair : an order to retire is 
regarded as a direction to fly. No sooner was the 
Tigris crossed and the march through Mesopotamia 

1 Tacitus says t Scyths ' only 
('auxilia Scytharum ') ; Josephus, 

' Dahse and Sacae ' (arpariav Aau>v 

n kcu ?laicon>). The early connec- 
tion of Artabanus with the Dahse 
(Tae. Ann. ii. 3) makes it probable 
that he would obtain aid from 


2 Tacitus says 'the Armenians 
and JElymeeans 1 (vi. 44) • but the 
latter lay exactly in the opposite 
quarter to Armenia, and seem to be 
wrongly mentioned. 



[Cn. XIY. 

begun, than the host of Tiridates melted away like an 
iceberg in the Gulf Stream. The tribes of the Desert 
set the example of flight ; l and in a little time almost 
the whole army had dispersed, drawing off either to 
the camp of the enemy or to their homes. Tiridates 
reached the Euphrates with a mere handful of followers, 
and crossing into Syria found himself once more safe 
under the protection of the Eomans. 

The flight of Tiridates gave Partliia back into the 
hands of its former ruler. Artabanus reoccupied the 
throne, apparently without having to fight a battle. 2 
He seems, however, not to have felt himself strong 
enough either to resume his designs upon Armenia, or 
to retaliate in any way upon the Romans for their sup- 
port of Tiridates. Mithridates, the Iberian, was left in 
quiet possession of the Armenian kingdom, and Vitel- 
lius found himself unmolested on the Euphrates. 
Tiberius, however, was anxious that the war with 
Parthia should be formally terminated, and, having 
failed in his attempts to fill the Parthian throne with a 
Roman nominee, was ready to acknowledge Artabanus, 
and eager to enter into a treaty with him. He in- 
structed Vitellius to this effect ; 3 and that officer (late 
in a.d. 36 or early in a.d. 37), having invited Artabanus 
to an interview on the Euphrates, 4 persuaded him to 

1 'Principio a gente Arabum 
facto.' (Tacit. Ann. l.s.c.) The 
Arabians of the Mesopotamian 
Desert are probably intended. 

2 Josephus says : YloXe^craQ Toiig 
avOtarriicoTag K('iT{.(r\e rt)v ap\\\v 
(Ant jucl xviii. 4, § 4, ad Jin.) ; but 
the fuller narrative of Tacitus shows 
that there was no actual fighting-. 

3 Joseph. Ant. Jud. xviii. 4, § 5. 

4 Josephus describes this inter- 
view at some length. The Eu- 

phrates was bridged in the usual 
way, by a bridge of boats, and the 
two chiefs met, each accompanied 
by a guard, midway on the bridge. 
After the conditions of peace had 
been settled, Herod Antipas, who 
was present as a Roman ally, enter- 
tained the Parthian king and 
Roman governor at a banquet, held 
in a magnificent tent erected mid- 
way between the two shores. 



terms which wore regarded by the Eomans as highly 
honourable to themselves, though Artabanus probably 
did not feel them to be degrading to Parthia. Peace 
and amity were re-established between the two nations. 
Home, it may be assumed, undertook to withhold her 
countenance from all pretenders to the Parthian throne, 
and Parthia withdrew her claims upon Armenia. 
Artabanus was persuaded to send his son, Darius, with 
some other Parthians of rank, to Eome, and was thus 
regarded by the Romans as having given hostages for 
his good behaviour. 1 He was also induced to throw a 
few grains of frankincense on the sacrificial fire which 
burnt in front of the Roman standards and the Imperial 
images, an act which was accepted at Rome as one of 
submission and homage. 2 The terms and circumstances 
of the peace did not become known in Italy till Tiberius 
had been succeeded by Caligula (March, a.d. 37). 3 
When known, they gave great satisfaction, and were 
regarded as glorious alike to the negotiator, Vitellius, 
and to the prince whom he represented. The false 
report was spread that the Parthian monarch had 
granted to the new Caasar what his contempt and 
hatred would have caused him to refuse to Tiberius ; 
and the inclination of the Romans towards their young 
sovereign was intensified by the ascription to him of a 
diplomatic triumph which belonged of right to his 

Contemporaneously with the troubles which have 

1 The term ' hostage ' is used by 
Josephus (I.S.C.), Suetonius {Calig. 
§ 19), and Dio (lix. 27). One 
would be glad to know whether 
the Parthians themselves regarded 
the transaction in the same light as 
the Romans appear to have done. 

2 Sueton. Calig. § 14 ; Dio Cass, 

3 This seems to me the best 
mode of reconciling Joseph. Ant. 
Jud. xviii. 4, § 5 with Dio Cass. 
lix. 27 and Sueton. Calig. l.s.c. j 
Vitell $ 2. 


been above described, but reaching down, it would 
seem, a few years beyond them, were other disturb- 
ances of a peculiar character in one of the Western 
provinces of the Empire. The Jewish element in the 
population of Western Asia had been one of import- 
ance from a date anterior to the rise, not only of the 
Parthian, but even of the Persian, Empire. Dispersed 
colonies of Jews were to be found in Babylonia, 
Armenia, Media, Susiana, Mesopotamia, and probably 
in other Parthian provinces. 1 These colonies dated 
from the time of Nebuchadnezzar's captivity, and ex- 
hibited everywhere the remarkable tendency of the 
Jewish race to an increase disproportionate to that of 
the population among which they are settled. The 
Jewish element became perpetually larger and more 
important in Babylonia and Mesopotamia, in spite of 
the draughts which were made upon it by Seleucus 
and other Syrian princes. 2 Under the Parthians, it 
would seem that the Mesopotamian Jews enjoyed gene- 
rally the same sort of toleration, and the same permis- 
sion to exercise a species of self-government, which 
Jews and Christians enjoy now in many parts of 
Turkey. They formed a recognised community, had 
some cities which were entirely their own, possessed a 
common treasury, and from time to time sent up to 
Jerusalem the offerings of the people under the protec- 
tion of a convoy of 30,000 or 40,000 men. 3 The 
Parthian kings treated them well, and no doubt va'ued 
them as a counterpoise to the disaffected Greeks and 
Syrians of this part of their Empire. They had no 

1 Compare Acts ii. 9; Joseph. I 2 On the transfer of Jews from 
Ant. Jud. xvi. 6, § 1 ; xviii. 9, § 1 ; I Babylonia to Antioch, see Joseph. 
Philo, Leg. ad Caium, p. 1032 ; ' A.nt. Jud. xii. 3, § 1 ; contr. Ap. 
Mos. Chor. Hist. Armen. ii. 3, 7 ; | ii. 4. 
&c. 3 Joseph. Ant. Jud. xviii. 9, § 1. 


grievance of which to complain, and it might have 
been thought very unlikely lhat any troubles would 
arise in connexion with them ; but circumstances 
seemingly trivial threw the whole community into 
commotion, and led on to disasters of a very lament- 
able character. 

Two young Jews, Asinai and Anilai, brothers, 
natives of Nearda, the city in which the treasury of 
the community was established, upon suffering some 
ill-treatment at the hands of the manufacturer who 
employed them, gave up their trade, and withdrawing 
to a marshy district between two arms of the Euphrates, 
made up their minds to live by robbery. 1 A band of 
needy youths soon gathered about them, and they 
became the terror of the entire neighbourhood. They 
exacted a black mail from the peaceable population of 
shepherds and others who lived near them, made oc- 
casional plundering raids to a distance, and required 
an acknowledgment (bakhshish) from travellers. Their 
doings having become notorious, the satrap of Baby- 
lonia marched against them with an army, intending 
to surprise them on the Sabbath, when it was supposed 
that they would not fight ; but his approach was dis- 
covered, it was determined to disregard the obligation 
of Sabbatical rest, and the satrap was himself surprised 
and completely defeated. Artabanus, having heard of 
the disaster, made overtures to the brothers, and after 
receiving a visit from them at his court, assigned to 
Asinai, the elder of the two, the entire government of 
the Babylonian satrapy. The experiment appeared at 

1 This narrative rests wholly I otherwise know of Parthia at this 
upon the authority of Josephus. I time, have led to it ; acceptance by 
Its internal probability, its tho- Milman and other writers not in- 
roughly Oriental colouring-, and its clined to credulity, 
general harmony with what we j 




[Cn. XIV. 

first to have completely succeeded. Asinai governed 
the province with prudence and zeal, and for fifteen 
years 1 no complaint was made against his administra- 
tion. But at the end of this time the lawless temper, 
held in restraint for so long, reasserted itself, not, in- 
deed, in Asinai, but in his brother. Anilai fell in love 
with the wife of a Parthian magnate, commander (ap- 
parently) of the Parthian troops stationed in Babylonia, 
and, seeing no other way of obtaining his wishes, made 
war upon the chieftain and killed him. He then 
married the object of his affections, and might perhaps 
have been content ; but the Jews under Asinai's 
government remonstrated against the idolatries which 
the Parthian woman had introduced into a Jewish 
household, and prevailed on Asinai to require that she 
should be divorced. His compliance with their wishes 
proved fatal to him, for the woman, fearing the conse- 
quences, contrived to poison Asinai ; and the authority 
which he had wielded passed into the hands of Anilai, 
without (so far as we hear) any fresh appointment from 
the Parthian monarch. Anilai had, it appears, no in- 
stincts but those of a freebooter, and he was no sooner 
settled in the government than he proceeded to indulge 
them by attacking the territory of a neighbouring 
satrap, Mithridates, who was not only a Parthian of 
high rank, but had married one of the daughters of 
Artabanus. Mithridates flew to arms to defend his 
province ; but Anilai fell upon his encampment in the 
night, completely routed his troops, and took Mithri- 
dates himself prisoner. Having subjected him to a 
gross indignity, 2 he was nevertheless afraid to put him 

1 Probably from about a.d. 19 
to 34. 

2 Mithridates was stripped naked 
and set upon an ass, and in this 

guise was conveyed from the battle- 
field to the camp of the victors. 
(Joseph. A. J. xviii. 9 ; § 6.) 


to death, lest the Parthian king should avenge the 
slaughter of his relative on the Jews of Babylon. 
Mithridates was consequently released, and returned to 
his wife, who was so indignant at the insult whereto he 
had been subjected, that she left him no peaee till he 
collected a second army and resumed the war. Anilai 
was qo ways daunted. Quitting his stronghold in the 
marshes, he led his troops a distance of ten miles 
tli rough a hot and dry plain to meet the enemy, tlms 
unnecessarily exhausting them, and exposing them to 
the attack of their enemies under the most unfavourable 
circumstances. He was of course defeated with loss ; 
but he himself escaped and revenged himself by carry- 
ing fire and sword over the lands of the Babylonians, 
who had hitherto lived peaceably under his protection. 
The Babylonians sent to Nearda and demanded his 
surrender ; but the Jews of Nearda, even if they had 
had the will, had no power to comply. A pretence 
was then made of arranging matters by negotiation ; 
but the Babylonians, having in this way obtained a 
knowledge of the position which Anilai and his troops 
occupied, fell upon them in the night, when they were 
all either drunk or asleep, and at one stroke extermi- 
nated the whole band. 

Thus far, no great calamity had occurred. Two 
Jewish robber-chiefs had been elevated into the posi- 
tion of Parthian satraps ; and the result had been, first, 
fifteen years of peace, and then a short civil war, end- 
ing in the destruction of the surviving chief and the 
annihilation of the band of marauders. But the 
lamentable consequences of the commotion were now 
to show themselves. The native Babylonians had 
always looked with dislike on the Jewish colony, and 
occasions of actual collision between the two bodies 


had not been wholly wanting. 1 The circumstances of 
the existing time seemed to furnish a good excuse for 
an outbreak; and scarcely were Anilai and his fol- 
lowers destroyed, when the Jews of Babylon were set 
upon by their native fellow-citizens. Unable to make 
an effectual resistance, they resolved to retire from the 
place, and, at the immense loss which such a migration 
necessarily costs, they quitted Babylon and transferred 
themselves in great numbers to Seleucia. Here they 
lived quietly for five years (about a.d. 34-39), but 
in the sixth year (a.d. 40) fresh troubles broke out. 
The remnant of the Jews at Babylon were assailed, 
either by their old enemies or by a pestilence, 2 and took 
refuge at Seleucia with their brethren. It happened 
that at Seleucia there was a feud of long standing 
between the Syrian population and the Greeks. The 
Jews naturally joined the Syrians, who were a kindred 
race, and the two together brought the Greeks under ; 
whereupon these last contrived to come to terms with 
the Syrians, and persuaded them to join in an attack 
on their late allies. Against the combined Greeks and 
Syrians the Jews were powerless, and in the massacre 
which ensued they lost above 50,000 men. The 
remnant withdrew to Ctesiphon ; but even there the 
malice of their enemies pursued them, and the perse- 
cution was only brought to an end by their quitting 
the metropolitan cities altogether, and withdrawing to 
the provincial towns of which they were the sole occu- 
pants. 3 

1 Joseph. Ant. Jucl. xviii. 9, § 8. I avrwt) are ambiguous. Dean Mil- 
'Aii 6>c art iroXv cia<f>opoi KaBtar))- man understood them to intend a 
KSffav, Kai oTTOTfpoig Trapaytvoiro i pestilence. (History of the Jews, 
Oapptlv 7rp<)Ttpnv ci\\>i\u)v fjiTTovro. vol. ii. p. 189, 12mo. edit.) 

2 The words of Josephus (ry 3 Joseph. Ant. Jud. xviii. 9, § 9. 
*K-<p trti ipOopa iv Ba(3v\ufn Ly'tvero 


The narrative of these events derives its interest, not 
so much from any sympathy that we can feel with any 
of the actors in it, as from the light which it throws 
upon the character of the Parthian rule, and the con- 
dition of the countries under Parthian government. 
In the details given we seem once more to trace a near 
resemblance between the Parthian system and that of 
the Turks ; x we seem to see thrown back into the 
mirror of the past an image of those terrible conflicts 
and disorders which have passed before Our own eyes 
in Syria and the Lebanon while under acknowledged 
Turkish sovereignty. The picture has the same 
features of antipathies of race unsoftened by time and 
contact, of perpetual feud bursting out into occasional 
conflict, of undying religious animosities, of strange 
combinations, of fearful massacres, and of a govern- 
ment looking tamely on, and allowing things for the 
most part to take their course. We see how utterly 
the Parthian system failed to blend together or amal- 
gamate the conquered peoples ; and not only so, but 
how impotent it was even to effect the first object of 
a government, the securing of peace and tranquillity 
within its borders. If indeed it were necessary to 
believe that the picture brought before us represented 
truthfully the normal condition of the people and 
countries with which it is concerned, we should be 
forced to conclude that Parthian government was 
merely another name for anarchy, and that it was only 
good fortune that preserved the empire from falling to 
pieces at this early date, within two centuries of its 
establishment. But there is reason to believe that the 
reign of Artabanus III. represents, not the normal, but 

1 See above, pp. 25 and 193, 


an exceptional state of tilings — a state of things which 
could only arise in Parthia when the powers of govern- 
ment were relaxed in consequence of rebellion and 
civil war. 1 We must remember that Artabanus was 
actually twice driven from his kingdom, and that 
during the greater part of his reign he lived in per- 
petual fear of revolt and insurrection. It is not im- 
probable that the culminating atrocities of the struggle 
above described synchronised with the second expul- 
sion of the Parthian monarch, 2 and are thus not so 
much a sign of the ordinary weakness of the Parthian 
rule, as of the terrible strength of the forces which that 
rule for the most part kept under control. 

The causes which led to the second expulsion of 
Artabanus 3 are not distinctly stated, but they were 
probably not very different from those that brought 
about the first. Artabanus was undoubtedly a harsh 
ruler ; and those who fell under his displeasure, natu- 
rally fearing his severity, and seeing no way of meeting 
it but by a revolution, were driven to adopt extreme 
measures. Something like a general combination of 
the nobles against him seems to have taken place 
about the year a.d. 40 ; and it appears that he, on 
becoming aware of it, determined to quit the capital 
and throw himself on the protection of one of the 
tributary monarchs. This was Izates, the sovereign of 

1 Strabo (xi. 9, § 2) praises the | 40. The death of Artabanus, which 

Parthian rule as salutary and vigo 
rous (j^piimfiov Trpdg riytfiovlav). 
There can be no doubt that the 
nation showed something of that 
aptitude for command and govern- 
ment which distinguishes the Turks. 
2 The Jewish troubles precede 
in Josephus his account of the 
death of Caligula, so that appa- 
rently they fall into the year a.d. 

followed closely upon his second 
expulsion and restoration (Joseph. 
A. J. xx. 3, § 4), is shown by the 
series of Parthian coins to have 
happened in a.d. 42. 

3 This portion of the history 
depends wholly on the authority of 
Josephus, who is not perhaps to be 
implicitly trusted. (See Ant. Jud. 
xx. 3, $ 1-3.) 

Cir. XIV.] 



Adiabene, or the tract between the Zab rivers, who is 
said to have been a convert to Judaism. 1 On the 
flight of Artabanns to Izates, it would seem that the 
Megistanes formally deposed him, and elected in his 
place a certain Kinnam, or Kinnamns, an Arsacid who 
had been brought up by the king. Izates, when he 
interfered on behalf of the deposed monarch, was met 
by the objection that the newly-elected prince had 
rights which could not be set aside. The difficulty ap- 
peared insuperable ; but it was overcome by the volun- 
tary act of Kinnamus, who wrote to Artabanns and 
offered to retire in his favour. Hereupon Artabanus 
returned and remounted his throne, Kinnamus carrying 
his magnanimity so far as to strip the diadem from his 
own brow and replace it on the head of the old 
monarch. A condition of the restoration was a com- 
plete amnesty for all political offences, which was not 
only promised by Artabanus, but likewise guaranteed 
by Izates. 

It was very shortly after his second restoration to 
the throne that Artabanus died. One further calamity 
must, however, be noticed as having fallen within the 
limits of his reign. The great city of Seleucia, the 
second in the Empire, shortly after it had experienced 
the troubles above narrated, 2 revolted absolutely from 
the Parthian power, and declared itself independent. 
No account has reached us of the circumstances which 
caused this revolt ; but it was indicative of a feeling 
that Parthia was beginning to decline, and that the 
disintegration of the Empire was a thing that might be 

1 Ibid. xx. 2, § 3. 

2 The reduction of Seleucia ap- 
pears from Tacitus to have fallen 
into the year a.d. 4G. This was, 
he says (xi. 9), the seventh year 

after it revolted. The revolt must 
therefore have taken place in a.d. 
40. That it fell in the reign of 
Artabanus appears from Tacit. Ann. 
xi. 8. 


expected. The Seleucians had at no time been con- 
tented with their position as Parthian subjects. Whether 
they supposed that they could stand alone, or whether 
they looked to enjoying under Eoinan protection a 
greater degree of independence than had been allowed 
them by the Parthians, is uncertain. They revolted, 
however, in a.d. 40, and declared themselves a self- 
governing community. It does not appear that the 
Eomans lent them any assistance, or broke for their 
sake the peace established with Parthia in a.d. 37. 
The Seleucians had to depend upon themselves alone, 
and to maintain their rebellion by means of their own 
resources. No doubt Artabanus proceeded at once to 
attack them, but his arms made no impression. They 
were successful in defending their independence 
during his reign, and for some time afterwards, al- 
though compelled in the end to succumb and resume a 
subject position under their old masters. Artabanus 
seems to have died in August or September a.d. 42, l 
the year after the death of Caligula. His chequered 
reign had covered a space which cannot have fallen 
much short of thirty years. 

1 This date is earlier than that 
generally assigned, which is a.d. 44 
(Heeren, Manual, p. 303, E. T. ; 
Lewis, History of the Parthian 

Empire^. 231 ; Vaillant, Arsac. Im- \ ( = September of the same year). 
perium, p. 220). But it is rendered I 

certain by the coins, which have for 
the last year of Artabanus the date 
FNT Awioj' ( = Aug. a.d. 42), and for 
the first of Vardanes TNT ropirun. 



Doubts as to the Successor of Artabanus III. First short reign of Gotar- 
zes. He is expelled and Vardanes made King. Reign of Vardanes. 
His War with Izates. His Death. Second Reign of Gotarzes. His 
Contest with his Nephew, Meherdates. His Death. Short and inglorious 
reign of Von&nes II. 

1 Turbatse Parthorum res, inter ambiguos, quis in regnum acciperetur.' 

Tacit. Ann. xi. 10. 

There is considerable doubt as to the immediate suc- 
cessor of Artabanus. According to Josephus, 1 he left 
his kingdom to his son, Bardanes or Vardanes, and this 
prince entered without difficulty and at once upon the 
enjoyment of his sovereignty. According to Tacitus, 2 
the person who obtained the throne directly upon the 
death of Artabanus was his son, Gotarzes, who was 
generally accepted for king, and might have reigned 
without having his title disputed, had he not given in- 
dications of a harsh and cruel temper. Among other 
atrocities whereof he was guilty, was the murder of his 
brother, Artabanus, 3 whom he put to death, together 
with his wife and son, apparently upon mere suspicion. 
This bloody initiation of his reign spread alarm among 

1 Ant. Jud. xx. 3, § 4. T/)j' 

/3a<n\iiav Tip naifi OvapSdvy kclto.- 


2 Ann. xi. 8. The true meaning 
of Tacitus in the passage has been 
questioned (see Walther's Tacitus, 
note ad loc.) ; but for my own part, 
I cannot feel a doubt that he regards 
Gotarzes as king before Vardanes. 

3 Some suppose the Artabanus 
intended to be Artabanus III., the 
preceding king; but he was the 
father, not the brother, of Gotarzes. 
(See Joseph. Aid. Jud. l.s.c, where 
Vardanes is called the son of Arta- 
banus III., and Gotarzes the brother 
of Vardanes.) 



[Cn. XV. 

the nobles, who thereupon determined to exert their 
constitutional privilege of deposing an obnoxious 
monarch and supplying his place with a new one. 
Their choice fell upon Vardanes, brother of Gotarzes, 
who was residing in a distant province, 350 miles from 
the Court. Having entered into communications with 
this prince, they easily induced him to quit his retire- 
ment, and to take up arms against the tyrant. Var- 
danes was ambitious, bold, and prompt : he had no 
sooner received the invitation of the Megistanes than 
he set out, and having accomplished his journey to the 
Court in the space of two days, 1 found Gotarzes 
wholly unprepared to offer resistance. Thus Vardanes 
became king without fighting a 
battle. Gotarzes fled, and escaped 
into the country of the Daha3, 
which lay east of the Caspian Sea, 
and north of the Parthian pro- 
vince of Hyrcania. Here he was 
allowed to remain for some time 
unmolested by his brother, and to 
form plans and make preparations for the recovery 
of his lost power. 

The statements of Tacitus are so circumstantial, and 
his authority as an historian is so great, that we can 
scarcely hesitate to accept the history as he delivers it, 
rather than as it is related by the Jewish writer. It is, 
however, remarkable that the series of Parthian coins 
presents an appearance of accordance rather with the 


1 The possibility of this feat has 
been questioned, and it has been 
proposed to alter the text of Tacitus 
from 'biduo tria M. passuum ' to 
' triduo duo M. passuum ' (see 
Walther's Tacitus, vol. ii. p. 18). 

But the feat of Vardanes does not 
come up to that of Tiberius, who 
travelled in one night and day 200 
Roman (or 184 British) miles to 
visit his sick brother, Drusus (Plin. 
H. N., vii. 20). 

Cn. XV.] 



latter than the former, since it affords no trace of the 
supposed first reign of Gotarzes in a.d. 42, while it shows 
Vardanes to have held the throne from Sept. a.d. 42 to 
at least a.d. 40. l Still, this does not absolutely con- 
tradict Tacitus. It only proves that the first reign of 
Gotarzes was comprised within a few weeks, and that 
before two months had passed from the death of Arta- 
banns, the kingdom was established in the hands of 
Vardanes. That prince, after the flight of his brother, 
applied himself for some time to the reduction of the 
Seleucians, 2 whose continued independence in the 
midst of a Parthian province he regarded as a disgrace 
to the Empire. His efforts to take the town failed, 
however, of success. Being abundantly provisioned 
and strongly fortified, it was well able to stand a siege ; 
and the high spirit of its inhabitants made them deter- 
mine to resist to the uttermost. While they still held 
out, Vardanes was called away to the East, where his 
brother had been gathering strength, and was once 
more advancing his pretensions. The Hyrcanians, as 
well as the Dahae, had embraced his cause, and Parthia 
was threatened with dismemberment. Vardanes, having 
collected his troops, occupied a position in the plain 
region of Bactria, 3 and there prepared to give battle to 
his brother, who was likewise at the head of a con- 
siderable army. Before, however, an engagement took 
place, Gotarzes discovered that there was a design 
among the ' nobles on either side to rid themselves of 
both the brothers, and to set up a wholly new king. 
Apprehensive of the consequences, he communicated 

1 Coins of a uniform type, dif- 
fering altogether from those of 
Gotarzes, and reasonably ascribed 
to Vardane9, bear the dates TNT, 
ANT, ENT, SNT, and ZNT, or A.D. 

42, 43, 44, 45, and 46. 

2 Tacit. Ann. xi. 8. 

3 'Bactrianos apud 
Tacit, l.s.c. 




[Cii. XV. 

his discovery to Vardanes ; and the result was that the 
two brothers made up their differences and agreed 
upon terms of peace. Gotarzes yielded his claim to 
the crown, and was assigned a residence in Hyrcania, 
which was, probably, made over to his government. 
Vardanes then returned to the west, and resuming the 
siege of Seleucia, compelled the rebel city to a sur- 
render in the seventh year after it had revolted 
(a.d. 46). 1 

Successful thus far, and regarding his quarrel with 
his brother as finally arranged, Vardanes proceeded to 
contemplate a military expedition of the highest im- 
portance. The time, he thought, was favourable for 
reviving the Parthian claim to Armenia, 2 and dis- 
puting once more with Borne the possession of a para- 
mount influence over that country. The Eoman 
government of the dependency, since Artabanus for- 
mally relinquished it to them, had been far from 
proving satisfactory. Mithridates, their protege, 3 had 
displeased them, and had been summoned to Borne by 
Caligula, 4 who kept him there a prisoner until his 
death. 5 Armenia, left without a king, had asserted 
her independence ; and when, after an absence of 
several years, Mithridates was authorised by Claudius 
to return to his kingdom, the natives resisted him in 
arms, and were only brought under his rule by the 
combined help of the Bomans and the Iberians. Forced 
upon a reluctant people by foreign arras, Mithridates 
felt himself insecure, and this feeling made him rule 

1 Tacit. Ann. xi. 9. 

2 Compare Tac. Ann. xi. 10 with 
Joseph. Ant. Jud. xx. 3, § 4. The 
intended ' Roman War ' of the 
latter writer is the projected 'Ar- 
menian expedition ' of the former. 

3 See above, pp. 231, 232. 

4 Dio Cass. lx. 8 j Tac. Ann. xi. 

5 Dio Cass, l.s.c. ; Senec. De 
Tranquill. § 11. 

Cn. XV.] 



his subjects with imprudent severity. 1 Under these 
circumstances, it seemed to Vardanes that it would not 
be very difficult to recover Armenia, and thus gain a 
signal triumph over the Komans. 

But to engage in so great a matter with a good 
prospect of success, it was necessary that the war 
should be approved, not only by himself, but by his 
principal feudatories. 2 The most important of these 
was now Izates, king of Adiabene and Gordyene, 3 who 
in the last reign had restored Artabanus to his lost 
throne. 4 Vardanes, before committing himself by any 
overt act, appears to have taken this prince into his 
counsels, and to have requested his opinion on the 
prudence of affronting the Eomans by an interference 
with Armenian affairs. Izates strenuously opposed the 
project. He had a personal interest in the matter, 
since he had sent five of his boys to Borne, to receive 
there a polite education, and he had also a profound 
respect for the Eoman power and military system. He 
endeavoured, both by persuasion and reasoning, to 
induce Vardanes to abandon his design. His argu- 
ments may have been cogent, but they were not 
thought by Vardanes to have much force, and the 
result of the conference was, that the Great King de- 
clared war against his feudatory. 5 

The war had, apparently, but just begun, when 
fresh troubles broke out in the north-east. Gotarzes 

1 'Cuncta in Mithridatem flux- 
ere, atrociorem quam novo regno 
eonduceret ' (Tacit. Ann. xi. 9). 

2 A Parthian king could, no 
doubt, command the services of his 
feudatories ; but it depended very- 
much upon themselves what forces 
they should bring into the field. 
To obtain any real success, the 
hearty co-operation of the feuda- 

tories was necessary. 

3 Artabanus rewarded Izates by 
adding this tract to his dominions. 
(Joseph. A. J. xx. 3, § 3.) 

4 See above, p. 247. 

5 Joseph. Ant. Jud. xx. 3, § 4. 

JloXtfxov Trpoq 'I'CarrjV Knri]yyeiXei'. 

Compare the remark of Tacitus — 
' Exin validissimas prcefecturas in- 
vasit ' {Ann. xi. 10). 



[Cn. XV. 

had never ceased to regret his renunciation of his 
claims, and was now, on the invitation of the Parthian 
nobility, prepared to come forward again and contest 
the kingdom with his brother. Vardanes had to 
relinquish his attempt to coerce Izates, and to hasten 
to Hyrcania in order to engage the troops which 
Gotarzes had collected in that distant region. These 
he met and defeated more than once in the country 
between the Caspian and Herat ; 1 but the success of 
his military operations failed to strengthen his hold 
upon the affections of his subjects. Like the generality 
of the Parthian princes, he showed himself harsh and 
cruel in the hour of victory, and in conquering an op- 
position roused an opposition that was fiercer and more 
formidable. A conspiracy was formed against him 
shortly after his return from Hyrcania, and he was 
assassinated while indulging in the national amusement 
of the chase. 2 

The murder of Vardanes was immediately followed 
by the restoration of Gotarzes to the throne. There 
may have been some who doubted his fitness for the 
regal office, 3 and inclined to keep the throne vacant 
till they could send to Borne and obtain from thence 
one of the younger and more civilised Parthian princes. 
But we may be sure that the general desire was not for 
a Eomanised sovereign, but for a truly national king, 
one born and bred in the country. Gotarzes was pro- 

1 I cannot follow this campaign 
in detail, as the rivers ' Erinde ' 
and ' Sinde,' mentioned by Tacitus, 
are unknown to the geographers. 

2 Tacit. Ann. xi. 10. Joseph us 
gives no details, but says simply 

dvai^ovcn avrov. 

3 So Tacitus (l.s.c). ' Nece Bar- 
danis turbatoe Farthorum res, inter 

ambiguos, quis in regnum accipe- 
retur. Multi ad Gotarzem inclina- 
bant ; quidam ad Meherdatem, 
prolem Phraatis.' But it may be 
doubted whether Meherdates was 

dered himself 

obnoxious to his 



claimed by common consent, and without any interval, 
after the death of Vardanes, and ascended the Parthian 
throne before the end of the year a.d. 46. * It is not 
likely that his rule would have been resisted had lie 
conducted himself well ; but the cruelty of his temper, 
which had already once cost him his crown, again dis- 
played itself after his restoration, and to this defect was 
added a slothful indulgence yet more distasteful to his 
subjects. 2 Some military expeditions which he under- 
took, moreover, failed of success, and the crime of 
defeat caused the cup of his offences to brim over. 
The discontented portion of his people, who were a 
strong party, sent envoys to the Eoman Emperor, 
Claudius (a.d. 49), and begged that lie would surrender 
to them Meherdates, the grandson of Phraates IV. and 
son of Vonones, who still remained at Borne in a posi- 
tion between that of a guest and a hostage. ' They 
were not ignorant,' they said, ' of the treaty which 
bound the Eomans to Parthia, nor did they ask 
Claudius to infringe it. Their desire was not to throw 
off the authority of the Arsacidao, but only to exchange 
one Arsacid for another. The rule of Gotarzes had 
become intolerable, alike to the nobility and the 
common people. He had murdered all his male rela- 
tives, or at least all that were within his reach — first 
his brothers, then his near kinsmen, finally even those 
whose relationship was remote ; nor had he stopped 
there ; he had proceeded to put to death their young 
children and their pregnant wives. He was sluggish 
in his habits, unfortunate in his wars, and had betaken 

1 Coins of Vardanes bear the 
date ZNT, or a.d. 45-46. A coin of 
Gotarzes is dated ZNT, llav^ov, or 
July, a.d. 46. 

2 Tacit. Ann. xi. 10 : l Gotarzes 

. . . . per scevitiam ac lu.vum ade- 
git Parthos mittere ad Principem 
Romanum occultas preces.' Com- 
pare the expression * socors domi,' 
in Ann^ xii. 10. 


himself to cruelty, that men might not despise him for 
his want of manliness. The friendship between Eome 
and Parthia was a public matter ; it bound the Eomans 
to help the nation allied to them — a nation which, 
though equal to them in strength, was content on 
account of its respect for Eome to yield her prece- 
dence. Parthian princes were allowed to be hostages 
in foreign lands for the very reason that then it was 
always possible, if their own monarch displeased them, 
for the people to obtain a king from abroad, brought 
up under milder influences.' 1 

This harangue was made before the Emperor Claudius 
and the assembled Senate, Meherdates himself being 
also present. Claudius responded to it favourabry. 
4 He would follow the example of the Divine Augustus, 
and allow theParthians to take from Eome the monarch 
whom they requested. That prince, bred up in the 
city, had always been remarkable for his moderation. 
He would (it was to be hoped) regard himself in his 
new position, not as a master of slaves, but as a ruler 
of citizens. He would find that clemency and justice 
were the more appreciated by a barbarous nation, the 
less they had had experience of them. Meherdates 
might accompany the Parthian envoys ; and a Eoman 
of rank, Caius Cassius, the prefect of Syria, should be 
instructed to receive them on their arrival in Asia, 
and to see them safely across the Euphrates.' 2 

The young prince accordingly set out, and reached 
the city of Zeugma in safety. Here he was joined, not 
only by a number of the Parthian nobles, but also by 
the reigning king of Osrhoene, who bore the usual 

1 This speech is given by Tacitus 
with his usual brevity (Ann. xii. 
10). He adds that the envoys said 

more to the same effect. 
2 Ibid. xii. 11. 


name of Abgarus. 1 The Parthians were anxious that 
he should advance at his best speed and by the shortest 
route on Ctesiphon, and the Boinan governor, Cassius, 
strongly advised the same course ; but Meherdates fell 
under the influence of the Osrhoene monarch, who is 
thought by Tacitus to have been a false friend, and to 
have determined from the first to do his best for 
Gotarzes. Abgarus induced Meherdates to proceed 
from Zeugma to his own capital, Edessa, and there de- 
tained him for several days by means of a series of 
festivities. He then persuaded him, though the winter 
was approaching, to enter Armenia, and to proceed 
against his antagonist by the circuitous route of the 
Upper Tigris, instead of the more direct one through 
Mesopotamia. In this way much valuable time was 
lost. The rough mountain-routes and snows of Armenia 
harassed and fatigued the pretender's troops, while 
Gotarzes was given an interval during which to collect 
a tolerably large body of soldiers. Still, the delay was 
not very great. Meherdates marched probably by 
Diarbekr, Til, and Jezireh, or, in other words, followed 
the course of the Tigris, which he crossed in the neigh- 
bourhood of Mosul, after taking the small town which 
represented the ancient Nineveh. His line of march 
had now brought him into Adiabene ; and it seemed a 
good omen for the success of his cause that Izates, the 
powerful monarch of that tract, declared in his favour, 
and brought a body of troops to his assistance. 2 
Gotarzes was in the neighbourhood, but was distrustful 
of his strength, and desirous of collecting a larger force 
before committing himself to the hazard of an engage- 
ment. He had taken up a strong position with the 

1 See above, pp. 151, 157,162-164. | 2 Tacit. Ann. xii. 13. 




[On. XV. 

river Corma in his front, 1 and remaining on the defen- 
sive, contented himself with trying by his emissaries 
the fidelity of his rival's troops and allies. The plan 
succeeded. After a little time, the army of Meherdates 
began to melt away. Izates of Adiabene and Abgarus 
of Edessa drew off their contingents, and left the pre- 
tender to depend wholly on his Parthian supporters. 
Even their fidelity was doubtful, and might have given 
way on further trial : Meherdates therefore resolved, 
before being wholly deserted, to try the chance of a 
battle. His adversary was now as willing to engage 
as himself, since he felt that he was no longer out- 
numbered. The rivals met, and a fierce and bloody 
action was fought between the two armies, no impor- 
tant advantage being for a long time gained by either. 
At length Carrhenes, the chief general on the side of 
Meherdates, having routed the troops opposed to him 
and pursued them too hotly, was intercepted by the 
enemy on his return and either killed or made prisoner. 
This event proved decisive. The loss of their leader 
caused the army of Meherdates to fly ; and he himself, 
being induced to entrust his safety to a certain Parrhaces, 

1 The notices of Tacitus do not 
enable us to follow with any exact- 
ness the movements of Gotarzes ; 
but I think there cannot be a doubt 
that he was protecting Ctesiphon, 
and that the scene of his manoeuvres 
and of the final engagement was 
the tract south of Nineveh, be- 
tween the Tigris and the Zagros 
mountain range. If the reading 
'Arbela' be allowed to stand in 
Ann. xii. 18, we may limit the 
scene of action a little more, and 
say that it lay between Arbil and 
Baghdad. Sambulos, the mountain 
which Gotarzes at first occupied, is 
probably the modern Mount Sun- 

bulah, between the plains of Ghilan 
and Deira, in lat 34° 25', long. 46° 
10' nearly. This is ' a very remark- 
able range, far exceeding in height 
all others at the foot of Zagros ' 
(Journal of Geograph. Society, vol. 
ix. p. 41).' On the summit is 'a 
fine table-land, wooded with dwarf 
oak,' while the sides are in most 
places bounded by ' naked and pre- 
cipitous crags like those of Behis- 
tun ' (ibid. p. 42). But the second 
position of Gotarzes, behind the river 
Corma, cannot be identified, since 
there are scarcely sufficient grounds 
for regarding that stream as the 
Kara-Su, or river of Kirmanshah. 


a dependant of his father's, was betrayed by this mis- 
creant, loaded with chains, and given up to his rival. 
Gotarzes now proved less unmerciful than might have 
been expected from his general character. Instead of 
punishing Meherdates with death, he thought it suffi- 
cient to insult him with the names of ' foreigner ' and 
' Koman,' and to render it impossible that he should 
be again put forward as monarch by subjecting him to 
mutilation. 1 The Koman historian supposes that this 
was done to cast a slur upon Borne ; 2 but it was a 
natural measure of precaution under the circumstances, 
and had probably no more recondite motive than com- 
passion for the youth and inexperience of the pre- 

Gotarzes, having triumphed over his rival, appears 
to have resolved on commemorating his victory in a 
novel manner. Instead of striking a new coin, like 
Vonones, 3 he determined to place his achievement on 
record by making it the subject of a rock- tablet, which 
he caused to be engraved on the sacred mountain of 
Baghistan, adorned already with sculptures and inscrip- 
tions by the greatest of the Achasmenian monarchs. 
The bas-relief and its inscription have been much 
damaged, both by the waste of ages and the rude hand 
of man ; but enough remains to show that the con- 
queror was represented as pursuing his enemies in the 
field, on horseback, while a winged Victory, flying in 
the air, was on the point of placing a diadem on his 
head. 4 In the Greek legend which accompanied the 

1 In the East, mutilation of any 
kind is regarded as incapacitating a 
man from the exercise of sove- 
reignty. Hence the Persian kings 
were in the habit, until recently, of 
blinding all their brothers upon 
their accession. 

Tacit. Ann. xii. 14. ' Ostentui 

3 See above, p. 223. 

4 Flandin, Voyage en Perse, p. 8. 
' On y reconnait neanmoins les sil- 
houettes de plusieurs personnages 




[Cn. XV. 

sculpture, lie was termed ' Satrap of Satraps ' — an 
equivalent of the ordinary title ' King of Kings ' ; and 
his conquered rival was mentioned under the name of 
Mithrates, a corrupt form of the more common 
Mithri dates, or Meherdates. 1 

Very shortly after his victory, Gotarzes died. His 
last year seems to have been a.d. 51. 2 According to 
Tacitus, he died a natural death, from the effects of 
disease ; 3 but, according to Josephus, he was the victim 
of a conspiracy. 4 The authority of Tacitus, here as 
elsewhere generally, is to be preferred ; and we may 
regard Gotarzes as ending peacefully his unquiet reign, 
which had begun in a.d. 42, immediately after the 
death of his father, had been interrupted for four years 
— from a.d. 42 to a.d. 46 — and had then been renewed 
and lasted from a.d. 46 to a.d. 51. Gotarzes was not 
a prince of any remarkable talents, or of a character 
differing in any important respects from the ordinary 

cle haute taille, surmont^s d'autres 
plus petits, parmi lesquels se dis- 
tinguent an cavalier arme" d'une 
lance, et une espece de gloire ou de 
renomrnee couronnant un autre 
guerrier a cheval.' 

1 Some account of this inscription 
lias been given by Sir R. K. Porter 
( Travels, vol. ii. p. 151), by Sir H. 
Rawlinson (Geor/raph. Journal, vol. 
ix. p. 115), and by MM. Flandin 
and Coste ( Voyage en Perse, Planches 
anciennes, pi. 119). The best ac- 
count is that of the second-named 
traveller, who transcribed the in- 
scription as follows: — AA*A2ATHv 

MiePATHsriBn . . . tqtapzhc 

He also read in a corner of the 
tablet the words rQTAP2HC 
TEOnoePOS. It has been argued 
that the inscription cannot have 
been set up by King Gotarzes, on 

account of the title ' Satrap of Sa- 
traps ' ; but this argument is not 
convincing. (See above, ch. vi. p. 
88, note 2 .) The combination of 
the names Gotarzes and Meher- 
dates (Mithrates) with the locality, 
certainly near the scene of the 
battle, and the winged Victory, 
common on Parthian coins at ex- 
actly this time, is a far more 
weighty one in favour of the in- 
scription being rightly assigned to 
the monarch. 

2 A coin of Gotarzes bears the 
date BET, or a.d. 50-51. One of 
Vonones II. has TST, or a.d. 51- 

s ' Dein Gotarzes morbo obiit ' 
{Ann. xii. 14). 

4 Joseph. Ant. Jud. xx. 3, § 4. 
Nit' oh ttoXvv xpovov t£ t tt ifiovX ijg 



Parthian type. He was perhaps even more cruel than 
the bulk of the Arsacidae, though his treatment of 
Meherdates showed that he could be lenient upon oc- 
casion. He was more prudent than daring, more 
politic than brave, more bent on maintaining his own 
position than on advancing the power or dignity of his 
country. Parthia owed little or nothing to him. The 
internal organisation of the country must have suffered 
from his long wars with his brother and his nephew ; 
its external reputation was not increased by one whose 
foreign expeditions were uniformly unfortunate. 

The successor of Gotarzes was a certain Vonones. 
His relationship to previous monarchs is doubtful — and 
may be suspected to have been remote. 1 Gotarzes 
had murdered or mutilated all the Arsacida3 on whom 
he could lay his hands ; and the Parthians had to send 
to Media 2 upon his decease in order to obtain a 
sovereign of the required blood.- The coins of 
Vonones II. are scarce, and have a peculiar rudeness. 
The only date 3 found upon them is one equivalent to 
a.d. 51-52 ; and it would seem that his entire reign 
was comprised within the space of a few months. 
Tacitus tells us that his rule was brief and inglorious, 
marked by no important events, either prosperous or 
adverse. He was succeeded by his son, Volagases I., 
who appears to have ascended the throne before the 
year a.d. 51 had expired. 4 

1 Philostratus is quoted as calling 
him ' the younger brother of Arta- 
banus III.' (Lindsay, History 
and Coinage, p. 70.) But the 
authority of Philostratus on a point 
of thi6 kind is worthless. 

2 Tacit. Ann. l.s.c. 

s The date in question is TST, 
which corresponds to the last three 
months of a.d. 51 and the first nine 
of a.d. 52. 

4 This appears from Tacitus 
{Ann. xii. 44 and 50). 



Reign of Volayases I. His first attempt on Armenia fails. His quarrel 
with Izates. Invasion of Parthia Proper by the Dahce and Saca>. 
Second attack of Volayases on Armenia. Tiridates established as King. 
First Expedition of Corbulo. Half Submission of Volayases. Revolt 
of Vardanes. Second Expedition of Corbido. Armenia given to 
Tigranes. Revolt of Hyrcania. Third attack of Volagases on Ar- 
menia. Defeat of Pcetus, and re -establishment of Tiridutes. Last 
Expedition of Corbido, and arrangement of Terms of Peace. Tiridates 
at Rome. Probable time of the Death of Volagases. 

' Genti Parthorum Vologeses imperitabat, materna origine ex pellice G-raeca.' 

Tac. Ann. xii. 44. 

Vonones the Second left behind him three sons, Vola- 
gases, Tiridates, and Pacorus. It is doubtful which of 
them was the eldest, but, on the whole, most probable 
that that position belonged to Pacorus. We are told 
that Volagases obtained the crown by his brothers' 
yielding up their claims to him, 1 from which we must 
draw the conclusion that both of them were his elders. 
These circumstances of his accession will account for 
much of his subsequent conduct. It happened that 
he was able at once to bestow a principality upon 
Pacorus, 2 to whom he felt specially indebted ; but in 
order adequately to reward his other benefactor, he 
found it necessary to conquer a province and then make 

1 Tacit. Ann. xii. 44. ' Concessu 
fratrum regnuni adeptus.' The 
names of the two brothers are given 
by Josephus (Ant. Jud. xx. 2, § 4), 
and Dio Cassius (lxiii. 5). The | is uncertain, 
former tells us that Pacorus was 

older than Tiridates. 

2 The government bestowed on 
Pacorus was that of Media ; whe- 
ther Media Magna or Atropatene 

Ch. XVL] 



its government over to him. Hence his frequent 
attacks upon Armenia, and his numerous wars with 
Koine for its possession, which led ultimately to an 
arrangement by which the quiet enjoyment of the Ar- 
menian throne was secured to Tiridates. 

The circumstances under which Volagases made his 
first attack upon Armenia were the following. Pharas- 
manes of Iberia, 1 whose brother, Mithridates, the Romans 
had (in a.d. 47) replaced upon the Armenian throne, 
had a son named Ehadamistus, whose lust of power 
was so great, that to prevent his making an attempt on 
his own crown, Pharasmanes found it necessary to 
divert his thoughts to another quarter/ 2 Armenia, he 
suggested, lay near, and was a prize worth winning ; 
Ehadamistus had only to ingratiate himself with the 
people, and then craftily remove his uncle, and he 
would probably step with ease into the vacant place. 
The son took the advice of his father, and in a little 
time succeeded in getting Pharasmanes into his power, 
when he ruthlessly put him to death, together with his 
wife and children. 3 Ehadamistus then, supported by 
his father, obtained the object of his ambition, and 
became king. It was known, however, that a consi- 
derable number of the Armenians were adverse to a 
rule which had been brought about by treachery and 
murder ; and it was suspected that, if an attack were 
made upon him, he would not be supported with much 
zeal by his subjects. This was the condition of things 
when Volagases ascended the Parthian throne, and 
found himself in want of a principality with which he 

1 See above, p. 2-°>l. 

2 Tacit. Ann. l.s.c. 

3 Ibid. xii. 47. Mithridates and 
his wife, who was the sister of 

Rhadamistus, were first smothered. 
The children were then killed for 
lamenting their parents.. 


might reward the services of Tiridates, his brother. It 
at once occurred to him that a happy chance presented 
him with an excellent opportunity of acquiring Armenia, 
and he accordingly proceeded, in the very year of his 
accession, to make an expedition against it. 1 At first 
lie carried all before him. The Iberian supporters of 
Ehadamistus fled without risking a battle ; his Arme- 
nian subjects resisted weakly ; Artaxata and Tigrano- 
certa opened their gates ; and the country generally 
submitted. Tiridates enjoyed his kingdom for a few 
months ; but a terrible pestilence, brought about by a 
severe winter and a want of proper provisions, deci- 
mated the Parthian force left . in garrison ; and 
Volagases found himself obliged, after a short occupa- 
tion, to relinquish his conquest. Ehadamistus returned, 
and, although the Armenians opposed him in arms, 
contrived to re-establish himself. The Parthians did 
not renew their efforts, and for three years — from a.d. 
51 to a.d. 54 — Ehadamistus was left in quiet possession 
of the Armenian kingdom. 2 

It appears to have been in this interval that the arms 
of Volagases were directed against one of his great feu- 
datories, Izates. As in Europe during the prevalence 
of the feudal system, so under the Parthian government, 
it was always possible that the sovereign might be 
forced to contend with one of the princes who owed 
him fealty. Volagases seems to have thought that the 
position of the Adiabenian monarch was becoming too 
independent, and that it was necessary to recall him, 
by a sharp mandate, to his proper position of subordi- 

1 Tacit. Ann. xii. 50. The first ! cording to the coins, 
invasion of Volagases falls into the j 2 Compare Tacit. Ann. xii. 50, 
latter part of a.d. 51, which was 51 with xiii. 6. 

the year that he became lung, ac- | 


nate and tributary. Accordingly, he sent him a demand 
thai he should surrender the special privileges which 
had been conferred upon him by Artabanus III., 1 and 
resume the ordinary status of a Parthian feudatory. 
Izates, who feared that if he yielded he would find that 
this demand was only a prelude to others more intoler- 
able, replied by a positive refusal, and immediately 
prepared to resist an invasion. He sent his wives and 
children to the strongest fortress within his dominions, 
collected all the grain that his subjects possessed into 
fortified places, and laid waste the whole of the open 
country, so that it should afford no sustenance to an 
invading army. He then took up a position on the 
lower Zab, or Caprius, and stood prepared to resist an 
attack upon his territory. Volagases advanced to the 
opposite bank of the river, and was preparing to invade 
Adiabene, when news reached him of an important 
attack upon his eastern provinces. A horde of barba- 
rians, consisting of Dahge and other Scythians, had 
poured into Parthia Proper, knowing that he was engaged 
elsewhere, and threatened to carry fire and sword 
through the entire province. The Parthian monarch 
considered that it was his first duty to meet these 
aggressors ; and leaving Izates unchastised, he marched 
away to the north-east to repel the external enemy. 2 

Volagases, after defeating this foe, would no doubt 
have returned to Adiabene, and resumed the war with 
Izates, but in his absence that prince died. 3 Monobazus, 
his brother, who inherited his crown, could have no 
claim to the privileges which had been conferred for 

1 As Volagases was descended 
from a branch of the Arsacidae quite 
distinct from that whereto Artaba- 

nus had belonged, there was not the i 3 Ibid. 

i ingratitude ' in this demand which 
some writers have seen in it. 
2 Joseph. Ant, Jud. xx. 4 ; § 2. 


personal services upon Izates ; and consequently there 
was no necessity for the war to be renewed. The 
bones of Izates were conveyed to the holy soil of Pales- 
tine and buried in the vicinity of Jerusalem. Monoba- 
zus was accepted by Volagases as his brother's successor 
without any apparent reluctance, and proved a faithful 
tributary, on whom his suzerain could place complete 

The quarrel with Izates, and the war with the Dallas 
and Saca3, may have occupied the years a.d. 52 and 53. 
At any rate it was not till a.d. 54, his fourth year, that 
Volagases resumed his designs against Armenia. 1 Eha- 
damistus, though he had more than once had to fly the 
country, was found in possession as king, and for some 
time he opposed the progress of the Parthian arms ; 
but, before the year was out, despairing of success, he 
again fled, and left Volagases to arrange the affairs of 
Armenia at his pleasure. Tiridates was at once esta- 
blished as king, and Armenia brought into the position 
of a regular Parthian dependency. The claims of Eome 
were ignored. Volagases was probably aware that the 
Imperial throne was occupied by a mere youth, not 
eighteen years old, one destitute of all warlike tastes, a 
lover of music and of the arts, who might be expected 
to submit to the loss of a remote province without much 
difficulty. He therefore acted as if Eome had no rights 
in this part of Asia, established his brother at Artaxata, 
and did not so much as send an embassy to Nero to 
excuse or explain his acts. These proceedings caused 
much uneasiness in Italy. If Nero himself cannot be 
regarded as likely to have felt very keenly the blow 
struck at the prestige of the Empire, yet there were 
those among his advisers who could well understand 

Tacit. Ann. xiii. 6. 

Ctt. XVI.] 



and appreciate the situation. The ministers of the 
young prince resolved that efforts on the largest scale 
should be made. Orders were at once issued for re- 
cruiting die Oriental legions, and moving them nearer 
to Armenia ; preparations were set on foot for bridging 
the Euphrates ; Antiochus of Commagene, and Herod 
Agrippa II., were required to collect troops and hold 
themselves in readiness to invade Parthia ; the Eoman 
provinces bordering upon Armenia were placed under 
new governors ; l above all, Corbulo, regarded as the 
best general of the time, was summoned from Germany, 
and assigned the provinces of Cappadocia and Galatia, 
together with the general superintendence of the war 
' for retaining possession of Armenia.' 2 At the same 
time instructions were sent out to Ummidius, proconsul 
of Syria, requiring him to co-operate with Corbulo ; and 
arrangements were made to obviate the clashing of 
authority which was to be feared between two 
equal commanders. In the spring of a.d. 55 the 
Eoman armies were ready to take the field, and a 
struggle seemed impending which would recall the 
times of Antony and Phraates. 

But, at the moment when expectation was at its 
height, and the clang of arms appeared about to resound 
throughout Western Asia, suddenly a disposition for 
peace manifested itself. Both Corbulo and Ummidius 
sent embassies to Volagases, exhorting him to make 
concessions, and apparently giving him to understand 
that something less was required of him than the resto- 

1 The Lesser Armenia was as- 
signed to Aristobulus, a son of 
Herod, king of Chalcis, and a first 
cousin of Agrippa II. Sophene, 
the more southern portion of the 
Greater Armenia, was entrusted to 
a certain Sohemus. (Tac. Ann. 

xiii. 7.) 

2 It is characteristic of Roman 
vanity, which could not bear to 
admit a loss, that Corbulo's ap- 
pointment was said to be not ' re- 
ciperandre,' but ' retinendes Arine- 
nia3.' (Tac. Ann. xiii. 8.) 


ration of Armenia to the Romans. 1 Volagases listened 
favourably to the overtures, and agreed to put into the 
hands of the Roman commanders the most distinguished 
members of the royal family as hostages. At the same 
time, he withdrew his troops from Armenia, 2 which the 
Romans however did not occupy, and which continued, 
as it would seem, to be governed by Tiridates. The 
motive of the Parthian king in acting as he did is obvi- 
ous. A revolt against his authority had broken out in 
Parthia, headed by his son, Vardanes ; and, until this 
internal trouble should be suppressed, he could not 
engage with advantage in a foreign war. 3 The reasons 
which actuated the Roman generals are far more 
obscure. It is difficult to understand their omission to 
press upon Volagases in his difficulties, or their readi- 
ness to accept the persons of a few hostages, however 
high their rank, as an equivalent for the Roman claim 
to a province. Perhaps the jealousy which subsequently 
showed itself in regard to the custody of the hostages 4 
may have previously existed between the two com- 
manders, and they may have each consented to a peace 
disadvantageous to Rome through fear of the other's 
obtaining the chief laurels if war were entered on. 

The struggle for power between Volagases and his 
son Vardanes seems to have lasted for three years 5 — 
from a.d. 55 to a.d. 58. Its details are unknown to 
us ; but Volagases must have been successful ; and we 

1 Tacitus {Ann. xiii. 9) does not 
clearly express this ; but it seems 
to follow from his silence as to any 
recovery of Armenia in a.d. 55, 
joined to his admission that Tiri- 
dates possessed the country in a.d. 
58 (ibid. xiii. 34, 37). 

3 Ibid. Tacitus is confirmed by 
the coins, which show that Varda- 
nes was proclaimed at least as early 
as a.d. 55. 

4 Tac. Ann. xiii. 9. 

5 The coins ascribed to Vardanes 
II. bear the dates Z3T, HST, and 

Tac. Ann. xiii. 7. I 93T, or a.d. 55, 56, and 57-58. 

Cn. XVI.] 




may assume that the pretender, of whom we hear no 
more, was put to death. No sooner 
was the contest terminated, than 
Volagases, feeling that he was now 
free to act, took a high tone in his 
communications with Corbulo and 
Ummidius, and declared that not 
only must his brother, Tiridates, 
be left in the undisturbed posses- 
sion of Armenia, but it must be distinctly understood 
that he held it as a Parthian, and not as a Eoman, 
feudatory. 1 At the same time Tiridates began to exer- 
cise his authority over the Armenians with severity, 
and especially to persecute those whom he suspected 
of inclining towards the Komans. 2 Corbulo appears to 
have felt that it was necessary to atone for his three 
years of inaction by at length prosecuting the war in 
earnest. He tightened the discipline of the legions, 
while he recruited them to their full strength, 8 made 
fresh friends among the hardy races of the neighbour- 
hood, 4 renewed the Eoman alliance with Pharasmanes 
of Iberia, urged Antiochus of Commagene to cross the 
Armenian frontier, and taking the field himself, carried 
fire and sword over a large portion of the Armenian 
territory. Volagases sent a contingent of troops to the 
assistance of his feudatory, but was unable to proceed 
to his relief in person, owing to the occurrence of a 
revolt in Hyrcania, 5 which broke out, fortunately for 

1 Tacit. Ann. xiii. 34. It would 
seem that when the hostages were 
given in a.d. 55, ambassadors were 
sent to Rome to endeavour to effect 
some arrangement. It was long 
before any answer was vouchsafed 
them (Dio Cass. lxii. 20). When 
a reply came, it appears to have 
been to the effect that Tiridates 
must either relinquish Armenia, or 

consent to receive it at the hands of 
the Romans, and hold it as a Roman 

2 Tacit. Ann. xiii. 37. 

3 Ibid. ch. 35. 

4 'Tunc primum illecti Isichi, 
gens haud alias socia Romanis/ 
(Ibid. ch. 37.) 

5 Tacit. Ann. l.s.c. Compare 


and xv. 1. 



[Cn. XVI. 

the Koinans, in the very year that the rebellion of Var- 
danes was suppressed. Under these circumstances it is 
not surprising that Tiridates had recourse to treachery, 1 
or that on his treachery failing he continually lost 
ground, and was at last compelled to evacuate the 
country and yield the possession of it to the liomans. It 
is more remarkable that he prolonged his resistance into 
the third year than that he was unable to continue the 
struggle to a later date. He lost his capital, Artaxata, 
in a.d. 58, and Tigranocerta, the second city of Armenia, 
in a.d. 60. After this he made one further effort from 
the side of Media, 2 but the attempt was unavailing ; 
and on suffering a fresh defeat, he withdrew altogether 
from the struggle, whereupon Armenia reverted to the 
Eomans. They entrusted the government to a certain 
Tigranes, a grandson of Archelatis, king of Cappadocia, 
but at the same time greatly diminished the extent of 
the kingdom by granting portions of it to neighbouring 
princes. Pharasmanes of Iberia, Polemo of Pontus, 
Aristobulus of the Lesser Armenia, and Antiochus of 
Commagene, received an augmentation of their terri- 
tories at the expense of the rebel state, which had shown 
itself incapable of appreciating the blessings of Eoman 
rule and had manifested a decided preference for the 
Parthians. 3 

But the fate of Armenia, and the position which she 
was to hold in respect of the two great rivals, Borne 
and Parthia, were not yet decided. Hitherto Volagases, 
engaged in a contest with the Hyrcanians and with 
other neighbouring nations, whereto the flames of war 

1 Tacit. Ann. xiii. 38-40. 

2 Ibid. xiv. 26. 

3 Tacitus says of the Armenians, 
1 Ambigua fide utraque arma invi- 
tabant, situ terrarum, similitudine 

morum Partliis propiores, connu- 
biisque perniixti ac libertate ignota, 
illuc magis ad servitium inclinabant? 
{Ann. xiii. 34.) 

Ch. XVI.] 



had spread, 1 had found himself unable to take any per- 
sonal part in the struggle in which his brother and 
vassal had been engaged in the west. Now matters in 
Hyrcania admitted of arrangement, and he was at 
liberty to give his main attention to Armenian affairs. 
His presence in the West had become absolutely 
necessary. Not only was Armenia lost to him, but it 
had been made a centre from which his other provinces 
in this quarter might be attacked and harassed. Ti- 
granes, proud of his newly-won crown, and anxious to 
show himself worthy of it, made constant incursions 
into Adiabene, ravaging and harrying the fertile country 
far and wide. 2 Monobazus, unable to resist him in the 
field, was beginning to contemplate the transfer of his 
allegiance to Eome, as the only means of escaping from 
the evils of a perpetual border war. 3 Tiridates, discon- 
tented with the position whereto he found himself 
reduced, and angry that his brother had not given him 
more effective support, was loud in his complaints, and 
openly taxed Volagases with an inertness that bordered 
on cowardice. 4 Public opinion was inclined to accept 
and approve the charge ; and in Parthia public opinion 
could not be safely contemned. Volagases found it 
necessary to win back his subjects' good will by calling 
a council of the nobility, and making them a formal 

1 We know, unfortunately, no- 
thing of these wars hut the mere 
fact of their occurrence. Some 
have supposed them to have been 
stirred up and assisted by Rome 
(Merivale, Roman Empire, vol. vii. 
p. 23) ; hut there is no evidence of 
this. On one occasion, a Hyrcanian 
embassy made its way to Rome, 
and solicited aid from Nero (Tac. 
Ann. xiv. 25), but apparently with- 
out any result. On their return to 
the East, these envoys were pro- 

tected by Corbulo, who sent them 
home by the circuitous route of the 
Indian Ocean and the Indus (?). 

2 Tacit. Ann. xv. 1: D. Cass. 
lxii. 20. 

3 This seems to be implied in the 
reflection ascribed to Monobazus 
by Tacitus (l.s.c), ' Levius servi- 
tium apud Romanos deditis quam 

4 The Latin ignavia (the term 
used by Tiridates in Tacitus) unites 
these two notions. 



[Ch. XVI. 

address : l — ' Parthians,' he said, t when I obtained the 
first place among you by my brothers ceding their 
claims, I endeavoured to substitute for the old system 
of fraternal hatred and contention, a new one of domes- 
tic affection and agreement; my brother Pacorus 
received Media from my hands at once ; Tiridates, 
whom you see now before you, I inducted shortly after- 
wards into the sovereignty of Armenia, a dignity reck- 
oned the third in the Parthian kingdom. Thus I put 
my family matters on a peaceful and satisfactory footing. 
But these arrangements are now disturbed by the 
Eomans, who have never hitherto broken their treaties 
with us to their profit, and who Avill now find that they 
have done so to their ruin. I will not deny that 
hitherto I have preferred to maintain my right to the 
territories, which have come to me from my ancestors, 
by fair dealing rather than by shedding of blood — by 
negotiation rather than by arms ; if, however, I have 
erred in this and have been weak to delay so long, I 
will now correct my fault by showing the more zeal. 
You at any rate have lost nothing by my abstinence ; 
your strength is intact, your glory undiminished ; you 
have added, moreover, to your reputation for valour 
the credit of moderation — a virtue which not even the 
highest among men can afford to despise, and which 
the Gods view with special favour.' Having concluded 
his speech, he placed a diadem on the brow of Tiri- 
dates, proclaiming by this significant act 'his determi- 
nation to restore him to the Armenian throne. At the 
same time he ordered Monoeses, a Parthian general, 

1 See Tacit. Ann. xv. 2. It has 
been thought best not to overload 
this history with the speeches which 
Greek and Roman writers put into 
the mouths of their historical cha- 

racters on all possible occasions. In 
the present instance an exception is 
made, on account of the suitability 
of the sentiments to the occasion. 


and Monobazus, the Adiabenian monarch, to take 
the field and enter Armenia, while he himself with 
the main strength of the empire advanced towards the 
Euphrates and threatened Syria with invasion. 1 

The results of the campaign which followed (a.d. 62) 
scarcely answered to this magnificent opening. Mo- 
nsbses indeed, in conjunction with Monobazus, invaded 
Armenia, and advancing to Tigranocerta, besieged 
Tigranes in that city, 2 which upon the destruction of 
Artaxata by Corbnlo, 3 had become the seat of govern- 
ment. Yolagases himself proceeded as far as Nisibis, 4 
whence he could threaten at the same time Armenia 
and Syria. The Parthian arms proved, however, 
po\verless to effect any serious impression upon Tigrano- 
certa ; and Volagases, being met at Nisibis by envoys 
from Corbulo, who threatened an invasion of Parthia 
in retaliation of the Parthian attack upon Armenia, 
consented to an arrangement. A plague of locusts had 
spread itself over Upper Mesopotamia, and the conse- 
quent scarcity of forage completely paralysed a force 
which consisted almost entirely of cavalry. 5 Volagases 
was glad under the circumstances to delay the conflict 
which had seemed impending, and readily agreed that 
his troops should suspend the siege of Tigranocerta 
and withdraw from Armenia on condition that the 
Piomans should at the same time evacuate the province. 6 
He would send, he said, ambassadors to Borne who 

1 Tacit. Ann. xv. 2. 

2 Ibid. ch. 4. 

3 See above, p. 270. 

4 Tacit. Ann. xv. 5. 

b 'Imbecillum equitem pabuli 
inopia : nam exorta vis locustarum 
ambederat quicquid herbidum aut 
frondosum ' (Tac. l.s.c). On the 
ravages committed by these insects 

in Mesopotamia and the adjacent 
regions, see Ancient Monarchies, vol. 
ii. pp. 299, 493, 2nd edit. 

6 Tacitus does not expressly men- 
tion this condition, but implies it 
in Ann. xv. 6. (' Cur enim exerci- 
tum Romanum a Tigranocertis 
deductum ? Cur deserta per otiuin 
quae bello defenderant ? ') 


should arrange with Nero the footing upon which 
Armenia was to be placed. Meanwhile, until the 
embassy returned, there should be peace— the Ar- 
menians should be left to themselves— neither Borne 
nor Parthia should maintain a soldier within the limits 
of the province, and any collision between the armies 
of the two countries should be avoided. 

A pause, apparently of some months' duration, fol- 
lowed. Towards the close of autumn, however, a 
new general came upon the scene ; and a new factor 
was introduced into the political and military com- 
binations of the period. L. Oesenmus Psetus, a 
favourite of the Boman emperor, but a man of no 
capacity, was appointed by Nero to take the mam 
direction of affairs in Armenia, while Corbulo confined 
himself to the care of Syria, his special province. 
Corbulo had requested a coadjutor, 1 probably not so 
much from an opinion that the war would be better 
conducted by two commanders than by one, as from 
fear of provoking the jealousy of Nero, if he con- 
tinued any longer to administer the whole of the East 
On the arrival of Partus, who brought one legion with 
him an equitable division of the Boman forces was 
made between the generals. Each had three legions ; 
and while Corbulo retained the Syrian auxiliaries, 
those of Pontus, Galatia, and Cappadocia were attached 
to the army of Partus. But no friendly feeling united 
the leaders. Corbulo was jealous of the rival whom 
he knew to have been sent out as a check upon him 
rather than as a help ; and Partus was inclined to 
despise the slow and temporising policy of the elder 
chief The war, according to his views, required to be 
carried on with more dash and vigour than had hitherto 

1 Tac. Arm. xv. 3. 


appeared in its conduct — cities should be stormed, lie 
said — the whole country plundered — severe examples 
made of the guilty. The object of the war also 
should be changed — instead of setting up shadowy 
kings, his own aim would be to reduce Armenia into 
the form of a province. 1 

The truce established in the early summer, when 
Volagases sent his envoys to Nero, expired in the 
autumn, on their return without a definite reply ; 2 and 
the Eoman commanders at once took the offensive 
and entered upon an autumn campaign, the second 
within the space of a year. Corbulo crossed the 
Euphrates in the face of a large Parthian army, which 
he forced to retire from the eastern bank of the river 
by means of military engines worked from ships an- 
chored in mid-stream. He then advanced and occu- 
pied a strong position in the hills at a little distance 
from the river, where he caused his legions to con- 
struct an entrenched camp. 3 Psetus, on his part, 
entered Armenia from Cappadocia with two legions, 
and passing the Taurus range, ravaged a large extent 
of country; winter, however, approaching, and the 
enemy nowhere appearing in force, he led back his 
troops across the mountains, and, regarding the cam- 
paign as finished, wrote a dispatch to Nero boasting of 
his successes, sent one of his three legions to winter in 
Pontus, and placed the other two in quarters between 
the Taurus and the Euphrates, at the same time grant- 
ing furloughs to as many of the soldiers as chose to 
apply for them. A large number took advantage of 

1 This is clearly the meaning of 
the threat — * Se tributa et leges, et 
pro umbra regis Romanum jus victis 
impositurum.' It was not likely 

to conciliate the Armenians. 

2 Tac. Ann. xv. 7. 

3 Ibid. ch. 9. 

t 2 


his liberality, preferring no doubt the pleasures and 
amusements of the Syrian and Cappadocian cities to 
the hardships of a winter in the Armenian highlands. 
While matters were in this position, Pastus suddenly 
heard that Volagases was advancing against him. As 
once before at an important crisis, 1 so now with the 
prospect of Armenia as the prize of victory, the Par- 
tisans defied the severities of winter and commenced a 
campaign when their enemy regarded the season for 
war as over. In this crisis Partus exhibited an entire 
unfitness for command. First, he resolved to remain 
on the defensive in his camp ; then, affecting to despise 
the protection of ramparts and ditches, he gave the 
order to advance and meet the enemy ; finally, after 
losing a few scouts whom he had sent forward, he 
hastily retreated and resumed his old position, but at 
the same time unwisely detached three thousand of 
his best foot to block the pass of Taurus, through 
which Volagases was advancing. 2 After some hesita- 
tion he was induced to make Corbulo acquainted 
with his position ; but the message which he sent 
merely stated that he was expecting to be attacked. 3 
Corbulo was in no hurry to proceed to his relief, pre- 
ferring to appear upon the scene at the last moment, 
when he would be hailed as a saviour. 

Volagases, meanwhile, continued his march. The 
small force left by Partus to block his progress was 
easily overpowered, and for the most part destroyed. 4 
The castle of Arsamosata, 5 where Partus had placed 

1 See above, pp. 101-105. 4 Ibid. xv. 11. 

2 Tacit. Ann. xv. 10. The in- 
fantry had the support of some 
troops of Pannonian horse, which 
tied, however, on the approach of 

3 'Hostem instare.' (Tacit. 


5 Arsamosata must not be con- 
founded with Samosata, now Sumei- 
sat. Samosata was situated on the 
Euphrates (Strab. xvi. 2, § 3), from 
which Arsamosata was at least forty 
(Roman) miles distant (Tac. Ann. 
xv. 16). 


his wife and child, and the fortified camp of the legions, 
were besieged. 1 The Eomans were challenged to a 
battle, but dared not show themselves outside their 
entrenchments. Having no confidence in their leader, 
the legionaries despaired and began openly to talk of 
a surrender. As the danger drew nearer, fresh mes- 
sengers had been dispatched to Corbulo, and he had 
been implored to come at his best speed in order to 
save the poor remnant of a defeated army. 2 That 
commander was on his march, by way of Commagene 
and Cappadocia ; it could not be very long before he 
would arrive ; and the supplies in the camp of Pectus 
were sufficient to have enabled him to hold out for 
weeks or months. 3 But an unworthy terror had seized 
both Paetus and his soldiers. Instead of holding out 
to the last, the alarmed chief proposed negotiations, 
and the result was that he consented to capitulate. 
His troops were to be allowed to quit their entrench- 
ments and withdraw from the country, but were to 
surrender their strongholds and their stores. Armenia 
was to be completely evacuated by the Eomans ; and a 
truce was to be observed and Armenia not again 
invaded, until a fresh embassy, which Volagases pro- 
posed to send to Home, returned. Moreover, a bridge 
was to be made by the Eomans over the Arsanias, a 
tributary of the Euphrates, which, as it was of no 
immediate service to the Parthians, could only be 
intended as a monument of the Eoman defeat. 4 ' Paetus 
assented to these terms, and they were carried out ; 
not, however, without some further ignominy to the 

1 Tac. Ann. xv. IS. 3 Ibid. ch. 16. ^ 

2 < Veniret propere ; signa et | 4 Dio Cass. lxii. 21. Compare 
aquilas, etno'men reliquum infelicis j Tac. Ann. xv. 15. 

exercitus tueretur.' (Ibid. ch. 11.) j 


Romans. The Parthians entered the Roman entrench- 
ments before the legionaries had left them, and laid 
their hands on anything which they recognised as 
Armenian spoil. They even seized the soldiers' clothes 
and arms, which were relinquished to them without a 
struggle, lest resistance should provoke an outbreak. 1 
Psetus, once more at liberty, proceeded with unseemly 
haste to the Euphrates, deserting his wounded and his 
stragglers, 2 whom lie left to the tender mercies of the 
Armenians. At the Euphrates, he effected a junction 
with Corbulo, who was but three days' march distant 
when Psetus so disgracefully capitulated. 

The chiefs, when they met, exchanged no cordial 
greeting. Corbulo complained that he had been in- 
duced to make a useless journey, and to weary his 
troops to no purpose, since without any aid from him 
the legions might have escaped from their difficulties, 
by simply waiting until the Parthians had exhausted 
their stores, when they must have retired. Paetus, anxious 
to obliterate the memory of his failure, proposed that 
the combined armies should at once enter Armenia, and 
over-run it, since Volagases and his Parthians had with- 
drawn. Corbulo replied coldly— that ' he had no such 
orders from the Emperor. He had quitted his province 
to rescue the threatened legions from their peril ; now 
that the peril was past, he must return to Syria, since 
it was quite uncertain what the enemy might next 
attempt. It would be hard work for his infantry, 
tired with the long marches it had made, to keep pace 
with the Parthian cavalry, which was fresh and would 
pass rapidly through the plains.' The generals upon 
this parted. Pectus wintered in Cappadocia ; Corbulo 
returned into Syria, where a demand reached him 

1 Tac. Ann. xv. 15. 1 2 Ibid. cli. 16. 

Ch. XVI.] 



from Volagases that he would evacuate Mesopotamia. 
He agreed to do so on the condition that Armenia 
should be evacuated by the Parthians. 1 To this Vola- 
gasea consented ; since he had re-established Tiridates 
as king, and the Armenians might be trusted, if left to 
themselves, to prefer Parthian to Eoman ascendancy. 

There was now, again, a pause in the war for some 
months. The envoys sent by Volagases after the 
capitulation of Paetus reached Borne at the commence- 
ment of spring 2 (a.d. 63), and were there at once ad- 
mitted to an audience. They proposed peace on the 
terms that Tiridates should be recognised as king of 
Armenia, but that he should go either to Eome, or to 
the head quarters of the Eoman legions in the East, in 
order to receive investiture, either from the Emperor 
or his representative. It was with some difficulty that 
Nero was brought to believe in the success of Vola- 
gases, so entirely had he trusted the dispatches of 
Partus, which represented the Eomans as triumphant. 3 
When the state of affairs was fully understood from 
the letters of Corbulo and the accounts given by a 
Eoman officer who had accompanied the Parthian 
envoys, there was no doubt or hesitation as to the 
course which should be pursued. The Parthian pro- 
posals must be rejected. Eome must not make peace 
immediately upon a disaster, or until she had retrieved 
her reputation and shown her power by again taking 
the offensive. Pastus was at once recalled, and the 
whole direction of the war given to Corbulo, who was 
intrusted with a wide spreading and extraordinary 
authorit \ 4 The Parthian envoys were dismissed, but 

1 Dio Cass. lxii. 22 ; Tac. Ann. 
xv. 17. 

2 Tac. Ann. xv. 24. 

3 Ibid. ch. 25. 

4 Tacitus compares the powers 
now granted to Corbulo with those 


with gifts, which seemed to show that it was not so 
much their proposals, as the circumstances under 
which they had been made, that were unpalatable. 1 
Another legion was sent to the East ; and the semi- 
independent princes and dynasts were exhorted to 
support Corbulo with zeal. That commander used his 
extraordinary powers to draw together, not so much a 
very large force, as one that could be thoroughly 
trusted ; 2 and collecting his troops at Melitene (Mala- 
tiyeh), made his arrangements for a fresh invasion. 

Penetrating into Armenia by the road formerly fol- 
lowed by Lucullus, Corbulo, with three legions, and 
probably the usual proportion of allies — an army of 
about 30,000 men — advanced against the combined 
Armenians and Parthians under Tiridates and Vola- 
gases, freely offering battle, and at the same time 
taking vengeance, as he proceeded, on the Armenian 
nobles who had been especially active in opposing 
Tigranes, the late Eoman puppet-king. 3 His march 
led him near the spot where the capitulation of Pectus 
had occurred in the preceding winter ; and it was 
while he was in this neighbourhood that envoys from 
the enemy met him with proposals for an accommoda- 
tion. Corbulo, who had never shown himself anxious 
to push matters to an extremity, readily accepted the 
overtures. The site of the camp of Partus was chosen 
for the place of meeting ; and there, accompanied by 
twenty horsemen each, Tiridates and the Eoman general 

which were entrusted to Pompey to be corrected from Tacitus (Ann. 
by the Gabinian law. (See on this xv. 2-5). 

Merivale, Itoman Empire, vol. i. p 

1 Dio attributes to Nero at this 
time the proposal of exactly those Illvricuin. 
conditions of peace which he re- J 3 Ibid. ch. 27. 
jected (I). Cass. lxii. 22). He is 

2 See Tac. Ann. xv. 26, where 
there is mention of his obtaining 
picked cohorts from Egypt and 


held an interview. 1 The terms proposed and agreed 
upon were the same that Nero had rejected ; and thus 
the Parthians could not bnt be satisfied, since they ob- 
tained all for which they had asked. Corbulo, on the 
other hand, was content to have made the arrangement 
on Armenian soil, while he was at the head of an intact 
and unblemished army, and held possession of an 
Armenian district ; so that the terms could not seem 
to have been extorted by fear, but rather to have been 
allowed as equitable. He also secured the immediate 
performance of a ceremony at which Tiridates divested 
himself of the regal ensigns and placed them at the 
foot of the statue of Nero ; and he took security for 
the performance of the promise that Tiridates should 
£0 to Rome and receive his crown from the hands of 
Nero, by requiring and obtaining one of his daughters 
as a hostage. In return, he readily undertook that 
Tiridates should be treated with all proper honour 
during his stay at Borne, and on his journeys to and 
from Italy, assuring Volagases, who was anxious on 
these points, that Borne regarded only the substance, 
and made no account of the mere show and trappings 
of power. 2 

The arrangement thus made was honestly executed. 
After a delay of above two years, 3 for which it is 
difficult to account, Tiridates set out upon his journey. 
He was accompanied by his wife, by a number of 
noble youths, among whom were sons of Volagases 
and of Monobazus, and by an escort of three thousand 
Parthian cavalry. 4 The long cavalcade passed, like a 

1 Ibid. ch. 28. 

2 Ibid. chs. 29-31. 

3 The arrangement was made in 
the summer of a.d. 63. Tiridates 

did not make his appearance at 
Rome till the spring of a.d. 60. 
(See Clinton, F. R. vol. i. p. 48.) 
4 Dio Cass, lxiii. 1, 2. 



[Ch. XVI. 

magnificent triumphal procession, through two-thirds of 
the Empire, and was everywhere warmly welcomed 
and sumptuously entertained. Each city which lay 
upon its route was decorated to receive it ; and the 
loud acclaims of the multitudes expressed their satis- 
faction at the novel spectacle. The riders made the 
whole journey, except the passage of the Hellespont, 
by land, proceeding through Thrace and Illyricum 
to the head of the Adriatic, 1 and then descending 
the peninsula. Their entertainment was furnished at 
the expense of the state, and is said to have cost the 
treasury 800,000 sesterces (about 6,250^.) a day : 2 this 
outlay was continued for nine months, and must have 
amounted in the aggregate to above a million and a 
half of our money. The first interview of the Par- 
thian prince with his nominal sovereign was at Naples, 
where Nero happened to be staying. According to 
the ordinary etiquette of the Eoman court, Tiridates 
was requested to lay aside his sword before approach- 
ing the Emperor ; but this he declined to do ; and the 
difficulty seemed serious until a compromise was sug- 
gested, and he was allowed to approach wearing his 
weapon, after it had first been carefully fastened to the 
scabbard by nails. He then drew near, bent one knee 
to the ground, interlaced his hands, and made obeisance, 
at the same time saluting the Emperor as his ' lord.' 3 

The ceremony of the investiture was performed after- 
wards at Eome. On the night preceding, the whole 
city was illuminated and decorated with garlands ; the 
Forum, as morning approached, was filled with ' the 

1 This is the meaning of Dio 
(lxiii. 7), where virep t6v 'loviov has 
been generally translated ' across 
the Adriatic,' instead of 'above ' or 
* round the head of the Adriatic/ 

which is the true meaning. 

2 Sueton. Neron. § 30. 
agrees (lxiii. 2). 

3 Dio Cass, l.s.c. 




peopte,' arranged in their several tribes, clothed in 
white robes and bearing boughs of laurel ; the Prae- 
torians, in their splendid arms, were drawn up in two 
lines from the further extremity of the Forum to the 
Eostra, to maintain the avenue of approach clear; all 
the roofs of the buildings on every side were thronged 
with crowds of spectators; at break of day Nero 
arrived in the attire appropriated to triumphs, accom- 
panied by the members of the Senate and his body- 
guard, and took his seat on the Eostra in a curule 
chair. Tiridates and his suite were then introduced 
between the two long lines of soldiers ; and the prince, 
advancing to the Eostra, made an oration, which (as 
reported by Dio) was of a sufficiently abject character. 1 
Nero responded proudly ; and then the Armenian 
prince, ascending the Eostra by a way constructed for 
the purpose, and sitting at the feet of the Eoman 
Emperor, received from his hand, after his speech had 
been interpreted to the assembled Eomans, the coveted 
diadem, the symbol of Oriental sovereignty. 2 

After a stay of some weeks, or possibly months, at 
Eome, during which he was entertained by Nero with 
extreme magnificence, Tiridates returned, across the 
Adriatic and through Greece and Asia Minor, 3 to his 
own land. The circumstances of his journey and his 
reception involved a concession to Eome of all that 
could be desired in the way of formal and verbal 
acknowledgment. The substantial advantage, how- 
ever, remained with the Parthians. The Eomans, 

1 According to this author, Tiri- 
dates said— 'Master, I am a de- 
scendant of Ar*aces, a brother of 
the kings Vologasus and Pacorus ; 
but I am thy slave. I have come 
hither to thee, who art my God, to 
worship thee, as I would Mithras ; 

and from henceforth my fate will 
be whatever thou makest it. For 
thou art my Fate and my Fortune.' 
(D, Cass, lxiii. 5.) 

2 Dio Cass, l.s.c. ; Sueton. Ner. 

3 Dio Cass, lxiii. 7. 



[Cn. XVI. 

both in the East and at the capital, were flattered by a 
show of submission ; but the Orientals must have con- 
cluded that the long struggle had terminated in an 
acknowledgment by Eome of Parthia as the stronger 
power. Ever since the time of Lucullus, Armenia had 
been the object of contention between the two states, 
both of which had sought, as occasion served, to place 
upon the throne its own nominees. Eecently the 
rival powers had at one and the same time brought 
forward rival claimants ; and the very tangible issue 
had been raised — Was Tigranes or Tiridates to be 
king? When the claims of Tigranes were finally, 
with the consent of Eome, set aside, and those of 
Tiridates allowed, the real point in dispute was yielded 
by the Eomans. A Parthian, the actual brother of 
the reigning Parthian king, was permitted to rule the 
country which Eome had long deemed her own. It 
could not be doubted that he would rule it in accord- 
ance with Parthian interests. His Eoman investiture 
was a form which he had been forced to go through ; 
what effect could it have on him in the future, except 
to create a feeling of soreness? The arms of Vola- 
gases had been the real force which had placed him 
upon the throne ; and to those arms he must have 
looked to support him in case of an emergency. Thus 
Armenia was in point of fact relinquished to Parthia 
at the very time when it was nominally replaced 
under the sovereignty of the Eomans. 1 

There is much doubt as to the time at which Vola- 
gases I. ceased to reign. The classical writers give no 

1 Writers on Roman history have 
not always seen this. But Dean 
Merivale well observes, in con- 
cluding his notice of the events — 
i While Tiridates did homage for 

his kingdom to Nero, he ivas suf- 
fered to place himself really under 
the protection of Volocjesus ' (JRoman 
Empire j vol. vii. p. 20). 

Ch. xvl] length of the reigx of VOLAGASES I. 285 

indication of the death of any Parthian king between 
the year A.D. 51, when they record the demise of 
Vonones II., and about the year a.d. 90, when they 
speak of a certain Pacorus as occupying the throne. 1 
Moreover, during this interval, whenever they have 
occasion to mention the reigning Parthian monarch, 
they always give him the name of Volagases. 2 Hence 
it has been customary among writers on Parthian 
history to assign to Volagases I. the entire period 
between a.d. 51 and a.d. 90 — a space of thirty-nine 
years. 3 Eecently, however, the study of the Parthian 
coins has shown absolutely that Pacorus began to 
reign at least as early as a.d. 78, 4 while it has raised a 
suspicion that the space between a.d. 51 and a.d. 78 
was shared between two kings, 5 one of whom reigned 
from a.d. 51 to about a.d. 62, and the other from 
about a.d. 62 to a.d. 78. It has been proposed to call 
these kings respectively Volagases I. and Artabanus IV., 6 
or Volagases I. and Volagases II., 7 and Parthian history 
has been written on this basis ; 8 but it is confessed 

1 Pacorus is mentioned as king June, a.d. 78. 

of Parthia by Martial in an epi- j 5 The coins which run from A£ T 
gram written under Domitian, pro- I (a.d. 52) to HIIT (a.d. 76) are 
bably towards the close of his reign, thought to present two distinct 
which was from a.d. 81 to a.d. 96. types of face, one of which is found 
(Mart. Epig. ix. 36, 3.) Clinton always before a.d. 62, and the other 
dates the epigram a.d. 94 or 95 always after that date. This seems 
(F. It. vol. i. p. 79). ! to be the opinion of the best numis- 

2 See Sueton. Ner. § 57 ; Vesp. matologists, as MM. Longperier and 
§ 6 ; Domit. § 2 ; Tac. Hist. iv. 51 ; ! De Bartholomei, Mr. Lindsay, and 
Dio Cass. lxvi. 1 1 ; Joseph. Bell. I the late Mr. De Salis. For my own 
Jud. vii. 5, § 2, and 7, § 2. i part, I confess I am unable to detect 

5 Vaillant, Arsacid. Imper. pp. \ any clear difference. 
249-292; Heeren, Manual of An- \ 6 Lindsay, History an d Coinage, 
dent History, p. 303, E.T. ; Plate i p. 87. 

in Smith's Dictionary of Greek and 7 In the British Museum Collec- 
Boman Biography, vol. i. pp. 358, , tion, arranged by the late Mr. De 
359. I Salis, these names are adopted. 

4 A coin of Pacorus, bearing his 8 By Mr. Lindsay (History and 
name, has the date BUT Aauriovj or Coinage, pp. 71-101). 



[Ch. XVI. 

that the entire absence of any intimation by the 
classical writers that there was any change of monarch 
in this space, or that the Volagases of whom they 
speak as a contemporary of Vespasian was any other 
than the adversary of Corbulo, is a very great difficulty 
in the way of this view being accepted ; and it is sug- 
gested that the two kings which the coins indicate, 
may have been contemporary monarchs reigning in 
different parts of Parthia. 1 To such a theory there 
can be no objection. The Parthian coins distinctly 
show the existence under the later ArsacidaB of nume- 
rous pretenders, or rivals to the true monarch, of 
whom we have no other trace. In the time of Vola- 
gases I. there was (we know) a revolt in Hyrcania, 2 
which was certainly not suppressed as late as a.d. 75. 
The king who has been called Artabanus IV. or Vola- 
gases II. may have maintained himself in this region, 
while Volagases I. continued to rule in the Western 
provinces and to be the only monarch known to the 
Eomans and the Jews. If this be the true account of 
the matter, we may regard Volagases I. as having 
most probably reigned from a.d. 51 to about a.d. 78 — 
a space of twenty-seven years. 

1 Lindsay, History and Coinage, 
p. 87. 

3 See above, pp. 269-271. The 
revolt appears to have broken out 
in a.d. 58 (Tac. Ann. xiii. 37). We 
hear of it as continuing in a.d. 60 
(ibid. xiv. 25), and again in a.d. 62 

(ibid. xv. 1). From this time we 
have no distinct mention of it until 
a.d. 75, when it appears from Jose- 
phus {Bell Jud. vii. 7, § 4) that the 
revolt had succeeded, and that a 
king ruled in Hyrcania who was 
completely independent. 




Results of the Establishment of Tiridates in Armenia. Long period of 
Peace between Parthia and Rome. Obscurity of Parthian History at this 
time. Relations of Volagases I. with Vespasian. Invasion of Western 
Asia by the Alani. Death of Volayases I. and Character of his Reign. 
Accession and Long Reign of Pacorus. Relations of Pacorus' m with 
Decebalus of Dacia. Internal Condition of Parthia during his Reiyn. 
Death of Pacorus and Accession of Chosroes. 

' Longa concordia quietus Oriens . . . tantum adversus Parthos minse.' 

Tacit. Hist. ii. 6. 

The establishment of Tiridates asking of Armenia, with 
the joint consent of Volagases and Nero, inaugurated a 
period of peace between the two Empires of Borne and 
Parthia, which exceeded half a century. 1 This result 
was no doubt a fortunate one for the inhabitants of 
Western Asia ; but it places the modern historian of 
the Parthians at a disadvantage. Hitherto the classical 
writers, in relating the wars of the Syro-Macedonians 
and the Eomans, have furnished materials for Parthian 
history, which, if not as complete as we might wish, have 
been at any rate fairly copious and satisfactory. Now, 
for the space of half a century, we are left without any- 
thing like a consecutive narrative, and are thrown upon 
scattered and isolated notices, which can form only a 
most incomplete and disjointed narrative. The reign of 
Volagases I. appears to have continued for about twelve 
years after the visit of Tiridates to Eome ; 2 and no 

1 The peace dates from the year 
a.d. 62, when the arrangement was 
made with Corbulo (see above, 
p. 280-281). It was not infringed 

until the great expedition of Trajan 
in a.d. 115. 

2 See above, p. 282. 


more than three or four events are known as having 
fallen into this interval. Our knowledge of the reign 
of Pacorus is yet more scanty. But as the business of 
the workman is simply to make the best use that he 
can of his materials, such a sketch of this dark period 
as the notices which have come down to us allow, will 
now be attempted. 

When the troubles which followed upon the death 
of Nero shook the Eoman world, and after the violent 
ends of Galba and Otho, the governor of Judrca, 
Vespasian, resolved to become a candidate for the 
imperial power (a.d. 69), Volagases was at once in- 
formed by envoys of the event, and was exhorted to 
maintain towards the new monarch the same peaceful 
attitude which he had now for seven years observed 
towards his predecessors. 1 Volagases not only com- 
plied with the request, but sent ambassadors in return 
to Vespasian, while he was still at Alexandria (a.d. 70), 
and offered to put at his disposal a body of forty 
thousand Parthian cavalry. 2 The circumstances of his 
position allowed Vespasian to decline this magnificent 
proposal, and to escape the odium which would have 
attached to the employment of foreign troops against his 
countrymen. His generals in Italy had by this time 
carried all before them ; and he was able, after thanking 
the Parthian monarch, to inform him that peace was re- 
stored to the Eoman world, and that he had therefore 
no need of auxiliaries. 3 In the same friendly spirit 
in which he had made this offer, Volagases, in the next 
year (a.d. 71), sent envoys to Titus at Zeugma, who 
presented to him the Parthian king's congratulations on 
his victorious conclusion of the Jewish war, and begged 

1 Tacit. Hist. ii. 82. I iv. 51. 

2 Sueton. Vesp. § 6 ; Tac. Hist. \ 3 Tacit. Hist, l.s.c. 


his acceptance of a crown of gold. The polite atten- 
tion was courteously received ; and before allowing 
them to return to their master, the young prince hos- 
pitably entertained the Parthian messengers at a ban- 
quet. 1 

Soon after this, circumstances occurred in the border 
state of Commagene which threatened a rupture of 
the friendly relations that had hitherto subsisted be- 
tween Yolagases and Vespasian. 2 Cassennius Psetus, 
proconsul of Syria, the unsuccessful general in the 
late Armenian war, informed Vespasian, early in a.d. 72, 
that he had discovered a plot, by which Commagene, 
one of the Eoman subject kingdoms, was to be de- 
tached from the Eoman alliance, and made over to the 
Parthians. Antiochus, the aged monarch, and his son 
Epiphanes were, according to Partus, both concerned 
in the treason ; and the arrangement with the Parthians 
was, he said, actually concluded. It would be well to 
nip the evil in the bud. If the transfer of territory 
once took place, a most serious disturbance of the 
Eoman power would follow. Commagene lay west of 
the Euphrates ; and its capital city, Samosata (the 
modern Sumeisat), commanded one of the points 
where the great river was most easily crossed ; so that, 
if the Parthians held it, they would have a ready 
access at all times to the Eoman provinces of Cappa- 
docia, Cilicia, and Syria, with a perfectly safe retreat. 
These arguments had weight with Vespasian, who 
seems to have had entire confidence in Pastus, and 
induced him to give the proconsul full liberty to act 
as he thought best. Thus empowered, Paatus at once 
invaded Commagene in force, and meeting at first with 

Joseph. Bell. Jud. vii. 5, § 2. | 2 Ibid. vii. 7, § 1. 




[Cn. XVII. 

no resistance (for the Commagenians were either in- 
nocent or unprepared), succeeded in occupying Samo- 
sata by a coup de main. The aged king wished to 
yield everything without a blow; but his two sons, 
Epiphanes and Callinicus, were not to be restrained. 
They took arms, and at the head of such a force as 
they could hastily muster, met Paetus in the field, and 
fought a battle with him which lasted the whole day, 
and ended without advantage to either side. But the 
decision of Antiochus was not to be shaken ; he refused 
to countenance his sons' resistance, and quitting Com- 
magene, passed with his wife and daughters into the 
Roman province of Cilicia, where he took up his 
abode at Tarsus. The spirit of the Commagenians 
could not hold out against this defection ; the force 
collected began to disperse ; and the young princes 
found themselves forced to fly, and to seek a refuge in 
Parthia, which they reached with only ten horsemen. 1 
Volagases received them with the courtesy and hos- 
pitality due to their royal rank ; but as he had given 
them no help in the struggle, so now he made no effort 
to reinstate them. All the exertion to which he could 
be brought was to write a letter on their behalf to 
Vespasian, 2 in which he probably declared them guilt- 
less of the charges that had been brought against 
them by Paatus. Vespasian, at any rate, seems to have 
become convinced of their innocence ; for though he 
allowed Commagene to remain a Roman province, he 

1 Joseph. Bell. Jud. vii. 7, § 2. 

2 This may possibly have been 
the letter to which Dio Cassius 
alludes (lxvi. 11), wherein Vola- 
pises addressed the Roman emperor 
thus: — ' Arsaces, King- of Kings, 
to Flavius Vespasianus, sends 
greeting ' ; whereto Vespasian was 

content to reply, with very palpable 
irony, ' Flavius Vespasian us to 
Arsaces, King of Kings, sends greet- 
ing.' It is, however, on the whole 
more likely that the letter with this 
heading was provoked by the re- 
fusal of Vespasian to help the Par- 
thian monarch against the Alani. 


permitted tlie two princes with their father to reside at 
Borne, assigned the ex-monarch an ample revenue, 
and gave the family an honourable status. 

It was probably not more than two or three years 
alter the events above narrated, 1 that Yolagases found 
himself in circumstances which impelled him to send a 
petition to the Roman Emperor for help. The Alani, 
a Scythian people, who had once dwelt near the 
Tanais' 2 and the Lake Maaotis, or Sea of Azof, but 
who must now have lived further to the East, had 
determined on a great predatory invasion of the coun- 
tries west of the Caspian Gates, and having made 
alliance with the Hyrcanians, who were in possession 
of that important pass, 3 had poured into Media through 
it, driven King Pacorus to the mountains, and over-run 
the whole of the open country. From hence they 

1 A.D. 7o. 

2 The Alani are first mentioned 
by Dionysius the Geographer (b.c. 
80-10), who joins them with the 
Daci and the Tauri (Periey. 305, 
306), and again places them be- 
tween the latter and the Agathyrsi 
(308, 309). A similar position (in 
the south of Russia in Europe, the 
modern Ukraine) is assigned to 
them by Pliny (II. N. iv. 12, § 25) 
and Josephus (Bell. Jud. vii. 7, § 4). 
Seneca (Thyest. 629) places them 

further west, 


the Ister. 

Ptolemy has two bodies of Alani, 
one in the position above described, 
the other in Scythia within the 
Imaus, north and partly east of the 
Caspian (Geoyraph. ii. 14, iii. 5, 
vi. 14). It must have been from 
these last, the successors, and, ac- 
cording to some (Amm. Marc, 
xxxi. 2), the descendants of the 
ancient Massagetae, that the Alani 
came who attacked Pacorus and 
Tiridates. Their alliance with the 
Hyrcanians shows that they rounded 

the south-east corner of the Cas- 
pian, and their passage through the 
Gates into Media and Armenia 
equally indicates that they invaded 
those countries from the East. 
The ethnology of the Alani has 
been much disputed. Some regard 
them as Medes, some as Teutons, 
others as Turks or Fins. It is in 
favour of their Finnish origin that 
Alani and Rliox-alani are significant 
in Finnish, Alani (alai?i) meaning 
' men,' and Ithox-alani (ruots-alain) 
'red-haired men.' A special con- 
nexion is traced between the 
Alani and the Os or Osethi of the 

3 This implies a development of 
Hyrcanian power not otherwise 
recorded, but in itself not impro- 
bable. The ' Gates' were beyond 
the limits of Hyrcania Proper, but 
closely adjoined upon it, and would 
be likely to fall into the hands of 
the power which held the adjacent 

T7 2 



[Cn. XVII. 

had passed on into Armenia, defeated Tiridates in a 
battle, and almost succeeded in capturing him by means 
of a lasso. 1 Volagases, whose subject-kings were thus 
rudely treated, and who might naturally expect his 
own proper territories to be next attacked, sent in this 
emergency a request to Vespasian for aid. He asked 
moreover that the forces put at his disposal should be 
placed under the command of either Titus or Domitian, 2 
probably not so much from any value that he set on 
their military talents, as from a conviction that if a 
member of the Imperial family was sent, the force 
which accompanied him would be considerable. We 
are told that the question, whether help should be 
given or no, was seriously discussed at Eome, and that 
Domitian was exceedingly anxious that the troops 
should go, and begged that .he might be their com- 
mander. But Vespasian was disinclined for any ex- 
penditure of which he did not recognise the necessity, 
and disliked all perilous adventure. His own refusal of 
extraneous support, when offered by his rival, ren- 
dered it possible for him to reject Volagases' request 
without incurring the charge of ingratitude. The 
Parthians were therefore left to their own resources ; 
and the result seems to have been, that the invaders, 
after ravaging and harrying Media and Armenia at 
their pleasure, carried off a vast number of prisoners 
and an enormous booty into their own country. 3 

Soon after this, Volagases must have died. The 
coins of his successor 4 commence in June, a.d. 78, and 

1 Joseph. B. J. vii. 7, § 2. On the 
use of the lasso by Asiatics, see 
Herod, vii. 85 ; Pausan. i. 21, § 8 j 
Suidas, advoc. lupa, &c. 

2 Sueton. Bomit. § 2. Compare 
Dio Cass. lxvi. 15. 

3 Joseph, l.s.c. 

4 The earliest known coin of 
Pacorus bears date en'f, Aaiaiov. 
It has the legend [U~\nK6po .... 
Sticaiov [i~l 7n(pavov[q ^i\f jM^i'ofc]. 

Ch. xvil] death and character of volagases. 293 

thus he cannot have outlived by more than three years 
the irruption of the Alani. If he died, as is most pro- 
bable, in the spring of a.d. 78, his reign would have 
covered the space of twenty- seven years. It was an 
eventful one for Parthia. It brought the second period 
of struggle with the Romans to an end 1 by a compro- 
mise which gave to Koine the shadow and to Parthia 
the substance of victory. And it saw the first com- 
pleted disintegration of the Empire in the successful 
revolt of Hyrcania — an event of evil portent. Volagases 
was undoubtedly a monarch of considerable ability. 
He conducted with combined prudence and firmness 
the several campaigns against Corbnlo ; he proved 
himself far superior to Partus ; exposed to attacks in 
various quarters from many different enemies, he re- 
pulsed all foreign invaders, and, as against them, main- 
tained intact the ancient dominions of the Arsacidas. 
He practically added Armenia to the Empire. Every- 
where success attended him, except against a domestic 
foe. Hyrcania seceded during his reign, and it may 
be doubted whether Parthia ever afterwards recovered 
it. An example was thus set of successful Arian revolt 
against the hitherto irresistible Turanians, which may 
have tended in no slight degree to produce the insur- 
rection which eventually subverted the Parthian Empire. 
The successor of Volagases I. was Pacorus, whom 
most writers on Parthian history have regarded as his 
son. 2 There is, however, no evidence of this relation- 

1 The first period of struggle, in I terminated a.d. 63 by Rome's ac- 
which either state sought to con- ceptance of Tiridates. This was 
quer territory from the other, lasted followed by a peace which lasted 
from B.C. 55 to 36, and was sue- fifty-three years — from a.d. 63 to 
ceeded by seventy years of peace — ! a.d. 115. 

from B.C. 35 to a.d. 35. The | 2 Vaillant, Arsac. Imp. p. 296 ; 
second, for supremacy over Ar- Plate in Smith's Bioyr. Diet., vol. i. 
menia, commenced A.D. 35, and \ p. 359 ; Lewis, History of the Par- 



[Oh. XVII. 

Coin of Pacorus II. 

ship ; and the chief reason for regarding Facorus as 
belonging even to the same branch of the Arsacidae 
with Volagases I. is his youth at his accession, indi- 
cated by the beardless head upon his early coins, 
which is no doubt in favour of his 
having been a near relation of the 
preceding king. The Parthian coins 
show that his reign continued at 
least till a.d. 93 ; it may have lasted 
considerably longer, for the earliest 
date on any coin of Chosroes is 
Mv. Seleuc. 421, or a.d. 110. The accession of Chos- 
roes has been conjecturally assigned to a.d. 108, 
which would allow to Facorus the long reign of thirty 
years. Of this interval it can only be said that, so 
far as our knowledge goes, it was almost wholly un- 
eventful. We know absolutely nothing of this Facorus, 
except that he gave encouragement to a person who 
pretended to be Nero ; that he enlarged and beau- 
tified Ctesiphon ; l that he held friendly communica- 
tions with Decebalus, the great Dacian chief, who 
was successively the adversary of Domitian and Tra- 
jan ; and that he sold the sovereignty of Osrhoene 
at a high price to the Edessene prince who was con- 
temporary with him. The Fseudo-Nero in question 
appears to have taken refuge with the Farthians in the 
year a.d. 89, and to have been demanded as an im- 
postor by Domitian. 2 Pacorus was at first inclined to 

thian Empire, p. 318. Lindsay 
{History and Coinage, p. 101) 
suggests that he was, not the son 
of Volagases I., but his grandson. 

1 Amm. Marc, xxiii. 6. ' Ctesi- 
phon, quam . . . rex Pacorus, in- 
colarum viribus amplificatam et 
mcenibus, Graeco indito nomine, 

Persidis effecit specimen sum- 

2 Sueton. Neron. § 57. ' Denique, 
cum postviginti annos, adolescente 
me, extitisset conditionis incertas, 
qui se Neronem esse jactaret, tarn 
favorabile nomen ejus apud Parthos 
fuit, ut vehementer adjutus, et vix 

Ch. xvil] 



protect, and even to assist him, but after a while was 
induced to give him up, probably by a threat of hosti- 
lities. The communication with the Dacian chief was 
most likely earlier. The Dacians, in one of those in- 
cursions into Mcesia which they made during the first 
years of Domitian, took captive a certain Callidromus, 1 
a Greek, if we may judge by his name, slave to a 
Eoman of some rank, named Liberius Maximus. This 
prisoner Decebalus (we are told) sent as a present to 
Pacorus, in whose service and favour he remained for 
a number of years. This circumstance, insignificant 
enough in itself, acquires an interest from the indication 
which it gives of intercommunication between the 
enemies of Eome, even when they were separated by 
vast spaces, and might have been thought to have been 
wholly ignorant of each other's existence. Decebalus 
can scarcely have been drawn to Pacorus by any other 
attraction than that which always subsists between 
enemies of any great dominant power. He must have 
looked to the Parthian monarch as a friend who might 
make a diversion on his behalf upon occasion ; and that 
monarch, by accepting his gift, must be considered to 
have shown a willingness to accept this kind of 

The sale of the Osrhoene territory to Abgarus by 
Pacorus 2 was not a fact of much consequence. It 
may indicate an exhaustion of his treasury, resulting 
from the expenditure of vast sums on the enlargement 
and adornment of the capital, but otherwise it has no 
bearing on the general condition of the Empire. 

redditus sit.' The ' twenty years ' 
of this passage, dating from the 
death of Nero, a.d. 69, fix the ap- 
pearance of this Pseudo-Nero to 
a.d. 89, the ninth year of Do- 


1 Plin. Ep. x. 16 



captum a Susago in Mce 
Suidas ad voc. <ovr)rfi. 



[Ch. XVII. 

Perhaps the Parthian feudatories generally paid a price 
for their investiture. If they did not, and the case of 
Abgarus was peculiar, still it does not appear that his 
purchase at all altered his position as a Parthian sub- 
ject. It was not until they transferred their allegiance 
to Eome that the Osrhoene princes struck coins, or 
otherwise assumed the status of kings. Up to the time 
of M. Aurelius they continued just as much subject to 
Parthia as before, and were far from acquiring a posi- 
tion of independence. 

There is reason to believe that the reign of Pacorus 
was a good deal disturbed by internal contentions. 
We hear of an Artabanus 1 as king of Parthia in a.d. 79 ; 
and the Parthian coins of about this period present us 
with two very marked types of head, both of them 
quite unlike that of Pacorus, 2 which must be those of 
monarchs who either contended with Pacorus for the 
crown, or ruled contemporaneously with him over 
other portions of the Parthian Empire. Again, towards 
the close of Pacorus's reign, and early in that of his 
recognised successor, Chosroes, a monarch called 
Mithridates is shown by the coins to have borne sway 

1 Zonaras, p. 578, B. The date 
is fixed by the mention immediately 
afterwards of the great eruption of 
Vesuvius in the reign of Titus, 
which belongs to a.d. 79. 

2 One of these, of whom there is 

a coin in the Brit. Mus. dated BC-T, 
or a.d. 80, 81, is thought by some to 
be the Artabanus of Zonaras. The 
other, whose head is entirely dif- 
ferent, has been identified with the 
Volagases who succeeded Chosroes. 

Early Coin of Volagases IL 

Coin of Mithridates IV* 

Ch. XVII.] 



for at least six years — from a.d. 107 to 113. This 
monarch commenced the practice of placing a Semitic 
legend upon his coins, 1 which would seem to imply 
that he ruled in the western rather than the eastern 
provinces. The probability appears, on the whole, to 
be that the disintegration which has been already 
noticed as having commenced under Volagases I. was 
upon the increase. Three or four monarchs were 
ruling together in different portions of the Parthian 
world, each claiming to be the true Arsaces, and using 
the full titles of Parthian sovereignty upon his coins. 
The Eomans knew but little of these divisions and con- 
tentions, 2 their dealings being only with the Arsacid 
w T ho reigned at Ctesiphon and bore sway over Mesopo- 
tamia and Adiabene. 

Pacorus must have died about a.d. 108, or a little 
later. He left behind him two sons, Exedares and 
Parthamasiris, 3 but neither of these two princes was 
allowed to succeed him. The Parthian Megistanes 
assigned the crown to Chosroes, the brother of their 
late monarch, perhaps regarding Exedares and Partha- 
masiris as too young to administer the government of 
Parthia satisfactorily. If they knew, as perhaps they 
did, 4 that the long period of peace with Eome was 

1 Tlnslegend(_uv/lKhyyhH) 
is read as fcota DTiriD or Mitradat 
mnlcha, i.e. 'King Mithridates.' 
(See Numism. Chron. vol. xi. 
PI. vii. No. 4.) Legends in the 
same character are frequent on the 
coins of the later Parthian kings. 

2 We have, however, an indica- 
tion of them in Dio Cassius, who, 
speaking of the slight resistance 
offered to Trajan in his advance 
upon Babylon, says, 'There were 
few to hinder him, since the power 

of Parthia had been brought low 
through the civil ivars, and there 
were still unsubdued rebellions' 
(lxviii. 26). 

3 Dio Cass, lxviii. 17. 

4 Pacorus had had occasion before 
his death to make various com- 
plaints to Trajan (Suidas ad voc. 
tTTtfcX/jjua). This would imply that 
Rome had already taken an aggres- 
sive attitude, and was preparing the 
way for a rupture. 


coming to an end, and that they might expect shortly 
to be once more attacked by their old enemy, they 
might well desire to have upon the throne a prince of 
ripe years and approved judgment. A raw youth 
would certainly have been quite unfit to cope with 
the age, the experience, and the military genius of 

Cn. xvm.] 




Reign of Chosroes. General condition of Oriental Affairs gives a handle to 
Trajan. Trajan s Schemes of Conquest. Embassy of Chosroes to Trajan 
fails. Great Expedition of Trajan. Campaign of a.d. 115. Campaign 
of A.D. 11(3. Death of Trajan, and relinquishment of his Parthian Con- 
quests by Hadrian. Interview of Chosroes with Hadrian. Its Conse- 
quences. Death of Chosroes and Accession of Volagases II. 

1 Ad ortum solis, cunctse gentes quae inter Indum et Euphratem amnes 
iuclytos sunt, concussae belJo.' — Aurel. Vict. Hist. § 13. 

The general state of Oriental affairs at the accession of 
Chosroes seems to have been the following. Upon the 
demise of Tiridates (about a.d. 100), 1 Pacorus had 
established upon the Armenian throne one of his sons, 
named Exedares, or Axidares, and this prince had 
thenceforth reigned as king of Armenia without making 
any application to Borne for investiture, or acknow- 
ledging in any w r ay the right of the Bomans to inter- 
fere with the Armenian succession. 2 Trajan, suffi- 
ciently occupied in the West, 3 had borne this insult. 
When, however, in a.d. 114, the subjugation of Dacia 
was completed, and the Boman Emperor found his 
hands free, he resolved to turn his arms towards Asia, 
and to make the Armenian difficulty a pretext for a 

1 The date here is uncertain; and 
it is even not quite clear whether 
Exedares was placed on the Ar- 
menian throne by Pacorus or 
Chosroes. It seems, however, scarce- 
ly likely that Tiridates should have 
lived much beyond A.D. 100, or that 
Chosroes, if he had established 
Exedares, should have so readily 

deposed him. 

2 Dio Cass, lxviii. 17. 

3 The Dacian War occupied 
Trajan from a.d. 101 to a.d. 106. 
The year a.d. 107 was spent in 
securing possession of the Dacian 
territory. (Clinton, F. i?., vol. i. 
pp. 88-94.) 


great military expedition, designed to establish un- 
mistakably the supremacy of Borne throughout the 
East. The condition of the East at once called for the 
attention of Borne, and was eminently favourable for 
the extension of her influence at this period. Disin- 
tegrating forces were everywhere at work, tending to 
produce a confusion and anarchy which invited the 
interposition of a great power, and rendered resistance 
to such a power difficult. Christianity, which was 
daily spreading itself more and more widely, acted as 
a dissolvent upon the previously-existing forms of 
society, loosening the old ties, dividing man from man 
by an irreconcilable division, and not giving much 
indication as yet of its power to combine and unite. 
Judaism, embittered by persecution, had from a nation- 
ality become a conspiracy ; and the disaffected adherents 
of the Mosaic system, dispersed through all the countries 
of the East, formed an explosive element in the popu- 
lation which involved the constant danger of a cata- 
strophe. 1 The Parthian political system was also, as 
already remarked, giving symptoms of breaking up. 
Those bonds which for two centuries and a half had 
sufficed to hold together a heterogeneous kingdom ex- 
tending from the Euphrates to the Indus, and from 
the Oxus to the Southern Ocean, were beginning to 
grow weak, and the Parthian Empire appeared to be 
falling to pieces. There seemed to be at once a call 
and an opportunity for a fresh arrangement of the 
East, for the introduction of a unifying power, such 
as Borne recognised in her own administrative system, 
which should compel the crumbling atoms of the 
Oriental world once more into cohesion. 

1 Some good remarks on these I Merivale's Roman Empire, vol. viii. 
subjects will be found in Dean I pp. 134-153. 

Ch. xviil] plans of trajax. 301 

To this call Trajan responded. His vast ambition 
had been whetted, rather than satiated, by the conquest 
of a barbarous nation, and a single, not very valuable, 
province. In the East he might hope to add to the 
Eoman State half a dozen countries of world-wide 
repute, the seats of ancient empires, the old homes of 
Asiatic civilisation, countries associated with the im- 
mortal names of Sennacherib and Sardanapalus, Cyrus, 
Darius, and Alexander. The career of Alexander had 
an attraction for him, which he was fain to confess ; * 
and he pleased himself by imitating, though he could 
not hope, at his age, to equal it. His Eastern expedi- 
tion was conceived very much in the same spirit as 
that of Crassus ; 2 but he possessed the military ability 
in which the Triumvir was deficient, and the enemy 
whom he had to attack was grown less formidable. 

Trajan commenced his Eastern expedition in a.d. 114, 
seven years after the close of the Dacian War. He 
was met at Athens in the autumn of that year by 
envoys from Chosroes, who brought him presents, and 
made representations which, it was hoped, would 
induce him to consent to peace. 3 Chosroes stated that 
he had deposed his nephew, Exedares, the Armenian 
prince whose conduct had been offensive to Eome ; 
and proposed that, as the Armenian throne was thereby 
vacant, it should be filled by the appointment of 
Parthamasiris, Exedares' brother. This prince would 
be willing, he said, to receive investiture at the hands 
of Eome ; and he requested that Trajan would transmit 
to him the symbol of sovereignty. The accommoda- 
tion suggested would have re-established the relations 
of the two countries towards Armenia on the basis on 

1 Dio Cass, lxviii. 29. 8 Dio Cass, lxviii. 17. 

2 See above, p. 150. 



[Ch. xvin. 

which they had been placed by the agreement between 
Volagases and Nero. It would have saved the credit 
of Home, while it secured to Parthia the substantial 
advantage of retaining Armenia under her authority 
and protection. Trajan might well have consented to 
it, had his sole object been to reclaim the rights or to 
vindicate the honour of his country. But he had dis- 
tinctly made up his mind to aim, not at the re-estab- 
lishment of any former condition of things, but at the 
placing of matters in the East on an entirely new foot- 
ing. 1 He therefore gave the ambassadors of Chosroes 
a cold reception, declined the gifts offered him, and 
replied to the proposals of accommodation, that the 
friendship of kings was to be measured by deeds rather 
than by words — he would therefore say nothing, but 
when he reached Syria, would act in a becoming 
manner. 2 The envoys of the Parthian monarch were 
obliged to return with this unsatisfactory answer ; and 
Chosroes had to wait and see what interpretation it 
would receive from the course of events. 

During the later months of autumn, Trajan advanced 
from Athens to Antioch. 8 At that luxurious capital, 
he mustered his forces and prepared for the campaign 
of the ensuing year. Abgarus, the Osrhoene prince 
who had lately purchased his sovereignty from 
Pacorus, 4 sent an embassy to him in the course of the 
winter, with presents and an offer of friendship. 5 
Parthamasiris also entered into communications with 
him first assuming the royal title, and then, when his 
letter received no answer, dropping it, and addressing 

1 Dio calls the Armenian matter 
a mere pretext, and Trajan's love of 
glory the real cause of the war 
(lxviii. 17). 

2 lldvTU ra jrpoai)KOVTa TTOirjOU 

(ibid, l.s.c.) 

3 Clinton, F. R. vol. i. 

4 See above, p. 294. 

5 Dio Cass, lxviii. 18. 


the Soman Emperor as a mere private person. 1 Upon 
this act of self-humiliation, negotiations were com- 
menced. Parthamasiris was encouraged to present 
himself at the Eoman camp, and was given to under- 
stand that he would there receive from Trajan, as 
Tiridates had received from Nero, the emblem of 
sovereignty and permission to rule Armenia. The 
military preparations were, however, continued. Vigo- 
rous measures were taken to restore the discipline of 
the Syrian legions, which had suffered through the 
long tranquillity of the East and the enervating in- 
fluence of the climate. 2 With the spring Trajan com- 
menced his march. Ascending the Euphrates to 
Samosata, and receiving as he advanced the submission 
of various semi-independent dynasts and princes, he 
took possession of Satala and Elegeia, Armenian cities 
on or near the Euphrates, and establishing himself at 
the last-named place, waited for the arrival of Partha- 
masiris. That prince shortly rode into the Eoman 
camp, attended by a small retinue ; and a meeting was 
arranged, at which the Parthian, in the sight of the 
whole Eoman army, took the diadem from his brows 
and laid it at the feet of the Eoman Emperor, expect- 
ing to have it at once restored to him. But Trajan 
had determined otherwise. He made no movement ; 
and the army, prepared no doubt for the occasion, 
shouted with all their might, saluting him anew as 
Imperator, and congratulating him on his ' bloodless 
victory.' 3 Parthamasiris felt that he had fallen into a 
trap, and would gladly have turned and fled ; but he 
found himself surrounded by the Eoman troops and 

Ibid. ch. 19. 3 Niicr/v avm^ov oji'v/jlu^ov (Dio 

2 Fronto, Prinr.ip. Hid. in his j Cass, lxviii. 19). 
Opera inedita, vol. ii. p. .340. j 


virtually a prisoner. Upon this he demanded a private 
audience, and was conducted to the Emperor's tent, 
where he made proposals which were coldly rejected, 
and he was given to understand that he must regard 
his crown as forfeited. It was further required of him 
that, to prevent false rumours, he should present him- 
self a second time at the Emperor's tribunal, prefer his 
requests openly, and hear the Imperial decision. The 
Parthian consented. With a boldness worthy of his 
high descent, he affirmed that he had neither been 
defeated nor made prisoner, but had come of his own 
free will to hold a conference with the Eoman chief, in 
the full expectation of receiving from him, as Tiridates 
had received from Nero, the crown of Armenia, con- 
fident, moreover, that in any case he would suffer no 
wrong, but be allowed to depart in safety. Trajan 
answered that he did not intend to give the crown of 
Armenia to any one — the country belonged to the 
Eomans, and should have a Eoman governor. As for 
Parthamasiris, he was free to go whithersoever he 
pleased, and his Parthian attendants might accompany 
him. The Armenians, however, must remain. They 
were Eoman subjects, and owed no allegiance to 
Parthia. 1 

The tale thus told, with no appearance of shame, by 
the Eoman historian, Dio Cassius, is sufficiently dis- 
graceful to Trajan, but it does not reveal to us the 
entire baseness of his conduct. We learn from other 
writers, 2 two of them contemporary with the events, 
that the pompous dismissal of Parthamasiris with leave 
to go wherever he chose, was a mere pretence. 

1 Dio Cass, lxviii. 20. Fr. 16. Fronto and Arrian were 

2 Eutrop. Breviar. viii. 3; Fronto, contemporary with Trajan. 
Princip. Hist. vol. ii. p. 349 ; Arrian, I 


Trajan had come to the conclusion, if not before the 
interview, at any rate in the course of it, that the 
youth was dangerous, and could not be allowed to live. 
He therefore sent troops to arrest him as he rode off 
from the camp, and when he offered resistance, caused 
him to be set upon and slain. This conduct he after- 
wards strove to justify by accusing the young prince of 
having violated the agreement made at the interview ; 1 
but even the debased moral sense of his age was re- 
volted by his act, and declared the grounds whereon 
he excused it insufficient. Good faith and honour had 
been sacrificed (it was said) to expediency — the repu- 
tation of Eome had been tarnished — it would have 
been better, even if Parthamasiris were guilty, to have 
let him escape, than to have punished him at the cost 
of a public scandal. 2 So strongly was the disgrace 
felt, that some (it seems) endeavoured to exonerate 
Trajan from the responsibility of having contrived the 
deed, and to throw the blame of it on Exedares, the 
ex-king of Armenia and brother of Parthamasiris. 
But Trajan had not sunk so low as to shift his fault on 
another. He declared openly that the act was his 
own, and that Exedares had had no part in it. 3 

The death of Parthamasiris was followed by the 
complete submission of Armenia. 4 Chosroes made no 
attempt to avenge the murder of his nephew, or to 
contest with Trajan the possession of the long-disputed 
territory. A little doubt seems for a short time to 
have been entertained by the Eomans as to its disposal. 

1 "On TTpuiTOQ Trapafiaivwv to. 
ZvyKtiutva trvx* rr\Q Siktjc. (Arrian, 


3 See Fronto, l.s.c. 

3 See the fragment of Arrian 
given by Suidas, ad voc. yvuxnc, 
which consists of words that Arrian 

must have put into the mouth of 
Trajan :— Ilcpi TlapOa/jiafjipov dk, 
ovxi 'AZidapov tlvai, aXK' eavrov tt]v 
yvCbrnv' on irpuiTog, k.t.X. (See above, 
note *.) 
4 Dio Cass, lxviii. 21. 



[Cn. XVHI. 

The right of Exedares to be reinstated in his former 
kingdom 1 was declared by some to be clear ; and it 
was probably urged that the injuries which he had 
suffered at the hands of Chosroes would make him a 
sure Eoman ally. But these arguments had no weight 
with Trajan. He had resolved upon his course. An 
end should be put, at once and for ever, to the per- 
petual intrigues and troubles inseparable from such 
relations as had hitherto subsisted between Eome and 
the Armenian kingdom. The Greater and the Lesser 
Armenia should be annexed to the Empire, and should 
form a single Eoman province. 2 This settled, attention 
was turned to the neighbouring countries. Alliance 
was made with Anchialus, king of the Heniochi and 
Macheloni, and presents were sent to him in return for 
those which his envoys had brought to Trajan. 3 A 
new king was given to the Albanians. Friendly rela- 
tions were established with the chiefs of the Iberi, 
Saurornatse, Colchi, and even with the tribes settled on 
the Cimmerian Bosphorus. 4 The nations of these parts 
were taught that Eome was the power which the in- 
habitants even of the remote East and North had most 
to fear ; and a wholesome .awe was instilled into them 
which would, it was hoped, conduce to the general 
tranquillity of the Empire. 

But the objects thus accomplished, considerable as 
they were, did not seem to the indefatigable Emperor 
sufficient for one year. Having settled the affairs of 
the North-east, and left garrisons in the chief Armenian 
strongholds, 5 Trajan marched southwards to Edessa, 

1 Arrian, ap. Suid. ad voc. a^- 


2 Eutrop. Breviar. viii. 2 ; Hist. 
MisceU. x. 3, p. 206 (ed. Eyssen- 
hardt, Berolin. 1868). 

3 Dio Cass, lxviii. 19. 

4 Eutrop. l.s.c. ; Hist. Misc. 1.S.C.J 
PUn. Up. x. 13-15. 

5 Dio Cass, lxviii. 21. 


the capital of the province of Osrhoene, and there re- 
ceived the humble submission of Abgarus, who had 
hitherto wavered between the two contending powers. 1 
Manisares, a satrap of these parts, who had a quarrel 
of his own with Chosroes, also embraced his cause, 2 
while other chiefs wavered in their allegiance to 
Parthia, but feared to trust the invader. Hostilities 
were commenced by attacks in two directions — south- 
ward against the tract known as Anthemusia, between 
the Euphrates and the Khabour ; 3 and eastward 
against Batnas, Nisibis, and the mountain region 
known as Gordyene, or the Mons Masius. 4 Success 
attended both these movements ; and, before winter set 
in, the Eomans had made themselves masters of the 
whole of Upper Mesopotamia, and had even pushed 
southwards as far as Singara, 5 a town on the skirts of 
the modern Sinjar mountain-range. Mesopotamia was 
at once, like Armenia, ' reduced into the form of a 
Eoman province.' Medals were issued representing 
the conqueror with these subject countries at his foot ; 6 
and the obsequious Senate conferred the title of 
' Parthicus ' upon the Imperator, 7 who had thus robbed 
the Parthians of two provinces. 

According to some, the head-quarters of Trajan 
during the ensuing winter were at Nisibis or Edessa, 8 

1 Dio Cass, (l.s.c.) Compare 
ch. 18. 

2 Ibid. ch. 22. 

3 Suidas ad voc. v^yi^ovmi. 

4 The captures of Nisibis and 
Batnae are mentioned by Dio 
(lxviii. 23). The general reduction 
of the Cardueni (Kurds), or in- 
habitants of Gordyene, is attested 
by Eutropius (l.s.c.) and the 
Historia Miscella (l.s.c). 

5 Dio Cass, lxviii. 22. 

6 See a representation in Vail- 

lant's Hist. Arsac. p. 312, and 
compare Eckhel, Doct. Num. vol. vi. 
p. 438. 

7 Dio Cass, lxviii. 23. 

8 So Dean Meiivale {Rom. 
Empire, vol. viii. p. 162), following 
Francke. I differ with reluctance 
and hesitation ; but, on the whole, 
Dio, as reported by Xiphilinus, 
seems to me our safest guide for 
the general course of the events of 
this period. 

x 2 



[Cn. XVIII. 

but the nexus of the narrative in Dio seems rather to 
require, and the other ancient notices to allow, the 
belief that he returned to Syria and wintered at 
Antioch, 1 leaving his generals in possession of the 
conquered regions, with orders to make every prepara- 
tion for the campaign of the next year. Among other 
instructions which they received was the command to 
build a large fleet at Nisibis, where good timber was 
abundant, 2 and to prepare for its transport to the 
Tigris, at the point where that stream quits the moun- 
tains and enters on the open country. 8 Meanwhile, in 
the month of December, 4 the magnificent Syrian capital, 
where Trajan had his head-quarters, was visited by a 
calamity of a most appalling character. An earth- 
quake, of a violence and duration unexampled in 
ancient times, destroyed the greater part of its edifices, 
and buried in their ruins vast multitudes of the inhabit- 
ants and of the strangers that had flocked into the 
town in consequence of the Imperial presence. Many 
Eomans of the highest rank perished, and among them 
M. Virgilianus . Pedo, one of the consuls for the year. 
The Emperor himself was in danger, and only escaped 
by creeping through a window of the house in which 

1 Dio distinctly places the earth- 
quake at Antioch and Trajan's 
escape from its perils at the close 
of the campaign of A.». 115, which 
he terminates with the captures of 
Xisibis and Batnae (Xiphil. Epit. 
Dion. p. 249). Malala also assigns 
the earthquake to this winter, Dec. 
115 (xi. p. 359). I do not under- 
stand the argument of Clinton, 
that the death of Pedo (the consul 
of A.T). 115) in the earthquake 
proves it to have occurred in the 
preceding winter (F. R. vol. i. 
p. 100). Whether the earthquake 

was in January, a.d. 115, or in 
December of that year, it would 
equally fall within Pedo's con- 

2 Dio Cass, lxviii. 26. Compare 
Taylor in Geoyraph. Journal, vol. 
xxxv. p. 56. 

3 Kara to YLapdvvov opoQ. (Dio 
Cass, l.s.c.) The Cardunian moun- 
tain of Dio is the Mons Masius of 
Strabo, which runs parallel with 
the course of the Upper Tigris from 
Diarbekr to Tilleh, and meets the 
river at Jezireh. 

4 Joh. Malal. l.s.c. 


he resided ; nor was bis person quite unscathed. Some 
falling fragments struck him ; but fortunately the 
injuries that lie received were slight, and had no per- 
manent consequences. The bulk of the surviving in- 
habitants, finding themselves houseless, or afraid to 
enter their houses if they still stood, bivouacked during 
the height of the winter in the open air, in the Circus, 
and elsewhere about the city. The terror which legi- 
timately followed from the actual perils was heightened 
by imaginary fears. It was thought that the Moris 
Casius, winch towers above Antioch to the south-west, 
was about to be shattered by the violence of the shocks, 
and to precipitate itself upon the ruined town. 1 

Nor were the horrors of the catastrophe confined to 
Antioch. The earthquake was one of a series which 
carried destruction and devastation through the greater 
part of the East. In the Eoman province of Asia, four 
cities were completely destroyed — Eleia, Myrina, Pitane, 
and Cyme. In Greece, two towns were reduced to 
ruins, namely, Opus in Locris, and Oritus. In Galatia 
three cities, unnamed, suffered the same fate. 2 It 
seemed as if Providence had determined that the new 
glories which Borne was gaining by the triumphs of 
her arms should be obscured by calamities of a kind 
that no human power could avert or control, and that 
despite the efforts of Trajan to make his reign a time 
of success and splendour, it should go down to posterity 
as one of gloom, suffering, and disaster. 

Trajan, however, did not allow himself to be diverted 
from the objects that he had set before him by such 
trifling matters as the sufferings of a certain number of 

1 Dio Cass, lxviii. 24, 25. I Euseb. Chron. Can. ii. pp. 380, 

2 Hist. Misc. x. 5; Oros. vii. 12; | 381. 



[Cn. xvni. 

provincial towns. With the approach of spring (a.d. 
1.1G) he was up and doing. 1 His officers had obeyed 
his orders, and a fleet had been built at Nisibis during 
the winter amply sufficient for the purpose for which it 
was wanted. The ships were so constructed that they 
could be easily taken to pieces and put together again. 
Trajan had them conveyed on wagons to the Tigris at 
Jezireh, 2 and there proceeded to make preparations for 
passing the river and attacking Adiabene. By em- 
barking on board some of his ships companies of heavy- 
armed and archers, who protected his working parties, 
and * at the same time threatening with other ships to 
cross at many different points, he was able, though 
with much difficulty, to bridge the stream in the face 
of a powerful body of the enemy, and to land his 
troops safely on the opposite bank. This done, his 
work was more than half accomplished. Chosroes 
remained aloof from the war, either husbanding his 
resources, or perhaps occupied by civil feuds, 3 and left 
the defence of his outlying provinces to their respective 
governors. Mebarsapes, the Adiabenian monarch, had 
set his hopes on keeping the invader out of his king- 
dom by defending the line of the Tigris, and when 
that was forced, he seems to have despaired, and to 
have made no further effort. His towns and strong- 
holds were taken one after another, without their 
offering any serious resistance. Nineveh, Arbela, and 
Gaugamala fell into the enemy's hands. Adenystrse, a 
place of great strength, was captured by a small knot 

1 Dio Cass, lxviii. 26. 

a See above, p. 308, note 3 . 

3 These are alluded to by Dio at 
the close of ch. 26. A passage in 
John of Malala (Chron. xi. p. 273) 

sets them forth more at large. His 
account of them, however, cannot 
be accepted, since it contradicts 
Dio and Victor. 




of Roman prisoners, who, when they found their friends 
near, rose upon the garrison, killed the commandant, 
and opened the gates to their countrymen. 1 In a 
short time the whole tract between the Tigris and the 
Zagros mountains was overrun; resistance ceased; and 
the invader was able to proceed to further conquests. 

It might have been expected that an advance would 
have at once been directed on Ctesiphon, the Parthian 
capital ; but Trajan, for some reason which is not made 
clear to us, determined otherwise. He repassed the 
Tigris into Mesopotamia, took Hatra 2 (now el-Hadhr), 
at that time one of the most considerable places in 
those parts, and then crossing to the Euphrates, de- 
scended its course to Hit 3 and Babylon. No resistance 
was offered him, and he became master of the mighty 
Babylon without a blow. Seleucia seems also to have 
submitted ; 4 and it remained only to attack and take 
the capital in order to have complete possession of the 
entire region watered by the two great rivers. For 
this purpose a fleet was again necessary, and, as the 
ships used on the Upper Tigris had, it would seem, 
been abandoned, 5 Trajan conveyed a flotilla, which had 

1 Dio Cass, lxviii. 22. This frag- 
ment is misplaced in Fabricius's 
generally excellent edition of Dio 
(Hamburg, 1752). It belongs to 
the period covered by ch. 26. 

2 The capture of Hatra is implied 
in the mention of its revolt (Dio 
Cass, lxviii. 31). 

3 Ibid. ch. 27. The only bitu- 
men-pits in Babylonia are at Hit 
(the "If of Herodotus, i. 179). 

4 Dean Merivale supposes Seleu- 
cia to have held out after the fall 
of Ctesiphon (Rom. Empire, vol. 
viii. p. 163), and says its reduction 
was left to Trajans generals. To 
me this seems unlikely, and I find 
no authority for the statement. 

5 Few writers notice the employ- 
ment by Trajan of two fleets, one 
on each river ; and not one attempts 
to account for the transfer of the 
Euphrates fleet to the Tigris when 
there was already a flotilla upon 
the latter stream. Fabricius alone 
notices the difficulty (note on § 172). 
I should imagine that the artificial 
dams and natural reefs which cross 
the bed of the Tigris between 
Mosul and Tekrit (Layard, Nin. 
and Babylon, p. 466) rendered the 
descent of the vessels in the later 
months of summer impracticable. 
That the vessels were of a large 
size appears from Arrian, Fr. 19. 



[Ch. XVIII, 

descended the Euphrates, across Mesopotamia on rollers, 
and launching it upon the Tigris, proceeded to the 
attack of the great metropolis. 1 Here again the resist- 
ance that he encountered was trivial. Like Babylon 
and Seleucia, Ctesiphon at once opened its gates. The 
monarch had departed with his family and his chief 
treasures, 2 and had placed a vast space between himself 
and his antagonist. He was prepared to contend with 
his Eoman foe, not in battle array, but by means of 
distance, natural obstacles, and guerilla warfare. He 
had evidently determined neither to risk a battle, nor 
stand a siege. As Trajan advanced, he retreated, 
seeming to yield all, but no doubt intending, if it 
should be necessary, to turn to bay at last, and in the 
meantime diligently fomenting that spirit of discontent 
and disaffection which was shortly to render the further 
advance of the Imperial troops impossible. 

But, for the moment, all appeared to go well with 
the invaders. The surrender of Ctesiphon brought 
with it the submission of the whole region on the 
lower courses of the great rivers, and gave the con- 
queror access to the waters of a new sea. Trajan may 
be excused if he overrated his successes, regarded him- 
self as another Alexander, and deemed that the great 
monarchy, so long the rival of Eome, was now at last 
swept away, and that the entire East was on the point 
of being absorbed into the Eoman Empire. The 
capture by his lieu tenants of the golden throne of the 
Parthian kings may well have seemed to him emblem- 
atic of this change ; and the flight of Chosroes into the 

1 Dio Cass, lxviii. 28. 

a This appears from the capture 
of his daughter and his golden 
throne ; which were taken by the 

Romans who went in pursuit of 
him. at Susa. (See Spartian. Hadr. 
§ 13 ; Capit. Ant. PL § 9, &c.) 



remote and barbarous regions of the far East may have 
helped to lull his adversary into a feeling of complete 
security. Such a feeling is implied in the pleasure 
voyage of the conqueror down the Tigris to the Persian 
Gulf, in his embarkation on the waters of the Southern 
Sea, in the inquiries which he instituted with respect 
to Indian affairs, and in the regret to which he gave 
utterance, that his advanced years prevented him from 
making India the term of his labours. 1 No shadow of 
his coming troubles seems to have flitted before the 
eyes of the Emperor during the weeks that he was 
thus occupied — weeks which he passed in self-com- 
placent contemplation of the past and dreams of an 
impossible future. 

Suddenly, tidings of a most alarming kind dispelled 
his pleasing visions, and roused him to renewed exer- 
tions. Eevolt, he found, had broken out everywhere 
in his rear. At Seleucia, at Hatra, at Nisibis, at 
Edessa, 2 the natives had flown to arms ; his entire line 
of retreat was beset by foes, and he ran a risk of having 
his return cut off, and of perishing in the land which 
he had invaded. Trajan had hastily to retrace his 
steps, and to send his generals in all directions to check 
the spread of insurrection. Seleucia was recovered by 
Erucius Clarus and Julius Alexander, who punished its 
rebellion by delivering it to the flames. Lucius 
Quietus retook Nisibis, and plundered and burnt 
Edessa. Maximus, on the contrary, was defeated and 
slain by the rebels, 8 who completely destroyed the 
Eoman army under his orders. 4 Trajan, perceiving 

1 Dio Cass, lxviii. 28 and 29. 

2 Ibid. chs. 30 and 31. 
8 Ibid. ch. 30. 

4 Fronto, Princip. Hist. p. 338. 
' Legatus cum exercitu caesus.' 



[Cn. xvni. 

how slight his hold was upon the conquered popula- 
tions, Felt compelled to change his policy, and, as the 
only mode of pacifying, even temporarily, the growing 
discontent, instead of making Lower Mesopotamia into 
a Eoman province, as he had made Armenia, Upper 
Mesopotamia, and Adiabene (or Assyria), he proceeded 
with much pomp and display to set up a native king. 
The prince selected was a certain Parthamaspates, a 
member of the royal family of the Arsacida3, who had 
previously sided with Eome against the reigning 
monarch. 1 In a plain near Ctesiphon, where he had 
had his tribunal erected, Trajan, after a speech wherein 
he extolled the greatness of his own exploits, presented 
to the assembled Eomans and natives this youth as 
King of Parthia, and with his own hand placed the 
diadem upon his brow. 2 

Under cover of the popularity acquired by this act, 
the aged Emperor now commenced his retreat. The 
line of the Tigris was no doubt open to him, and along 
this he might have marched in peace to Upper Meso- 
potamia or Armenia ; but either he preferred the direct 
route to Syria by way of Hatra and Singara, or the 
insult offered to the Eoman name by the independent 
attitude which the people of the former place still 
maintained induced him to diverge from the general 
line of his course, and to enter the desert in order to 
chastise their presumption. Hatra was a small town, 
but strongly fortified. The inhabitants at this time 
belonged 3 to that Arabian immigration which was 

1 This is so probable, that we 
may accept the evidence of John of 
Malala on the point (l.s.c), not- 
withstanding the general untrust- 
worthiness of his narrative. 

8 Dio Cass, lxviii. 30. 
3 Ibid, lxviii. 31. Mtra ra7>ra 
Ifi ttjv 'Apafiiav r)\Qe ical toIq 

'\Tpr)volg i-rrtxtlorjffs. (Compare lxxv. 
11,12; Herodian, iii. 28, &c.) 



always more and more encroaching upon Mesopotamia. 
They were Parthian subjects, but appear to have had 
their own native kings. 1 On the approach of Trajan, 
nothing daunted, they closed their gates, and prepared 
themselves for resistance. Though he battered down a 
portion of the wall, they repulsed all the attempts of 
his soldiers to enter through the breach, and when he 
himself came near to reconnoitre, they drove him off 
with their arrows. His troops suffered from the heat, 
from the want of provisions and fodder, from the 
swarms of flies which disputed with them every morsel 
of their food and every drop of their drink, and finally 
from violent hail and thunderstorms. Trajan was 
forced to withdraw after a time without effecting any- 
thing, and to own himself baffled and defeated by the 
garrison of a petty fortress. 2 

The year, a.d. 116, seems to have closed with this 
memorable failure. In the following spring, Chosroes, 
learning the retreat of the Eomans, returned to 
Ctesiphon, expelled Parthamaspates, who retired into 
Eoman territory, and re-established his authority in 
Susiana and Southern Mesopotamia. 3 The Eomans, 
however, still held Assyria (Adiabene) and Upper 
Mesopotamia, as well as Armenia, and had the strength 
of the Empire been exerted to maintain these posses- 
sions, they might have continued in all probability to 
be Eoman provinces, despite any efforts that Parthia 
could have made to recover them. But in August, 
a.d. 117, Trajan died; and his successor, Hadrian, was 
deeply impressed with the opinion that Trajan's con- 
quests had been impolitic, and that it was unsafe for 

1 Herodian. Hi. 1. 

2 Dio Cass, l.s.c. 

3 Ibid, lxviii. 33. 


about to make another expedition 
into Southern Mesopotamia, when 
his last illness prevented him. 



[Ch. xvm. 

Borne to attempt under the circumstances of the time 
any extension of the Eastern frontier. The first act of 
Hadrian was to relinquish the three provinces which 
Trajan's Parthian war had added to the Empire, and to 
withdraw the legions within the Euphrates. 1 Assyria 
and Mesopotamia were at once re-occupied by the Par- 
thians. Armenia appears to have been made over by 
Hadrian to Parthamaspates, 2 and to have thus returned 
to its former condition of a semi-independent kingdom, 
leaning alternately on Eome and Parthia. It has been 
asserted that Osrhoene was placed likewise upon the 
same footing ; 3 but the numismatic evidence adduced 
in favour of this view is weak ; 4 and upon the whole 
it appears most probable that, like the other Mesopo- 
tamian countries, Osrhoene again fell under the domi- 
nion of the Arsacidee. Eome therefore gained nothing 
by the great exertions which she had made, 5 unless it 
were a partial recovery of her lost influence in Arme- 
nia, and a knowledge of the growing weakness of her 
Eastern rival — a knowledge which, though it produced 
no immediate fruit, was of importance, and was borne 
in mind when, after another half-century of peace, the 
relations of the two empires became once more un- 

The voluntary withdrawal of Hadrian from Assyria 
and Mesopotamia placed him on amicable terms 

1 Eutrop. Breviar. viii. 3 ; Hist. 
Miscell. x. 7. 

2 M\. Spart. Hadrian. § 5. Spar- 
tian by mistake calls him ,Partamo- 

s See Vaillant, Hist. Arsac. p. 

4 There is, I believe, only a single 
coin which is thought to support 
the view that Osrhoene" became a 
kingdom dependent on the Romans 

at the accession of Hadrian. This 
is described by Eckhel (Doct. Num. 
vol. iii. p. 512) and Mionnet (De- 
scription de M4dailles, vol. v. p. 613), 
who both view it with suspicion. 
5 Dio Cass, lxviii. 33. O'vtoj fiiv 

oi 'Pojfxaloi, rrjg re 'Apfxtvlag icai TTJg 
MiaoTroTafxlaq rijg wXeiovoQ rwv re 
Udp9u)v KpaTticrui'Tfg, [naTTjv sttov- 
r\a av Kai fia.Tr] v ticivd vvtvoav. 


with Parthia during the whole of his reign. Chosroes 
and his successor could not but feel themselves under 
obligations to the monarch who, without being forced 
to it by a defeat, had restored to Parthia the most 
valuable of her provinces. On one occasion alone do 
we hear of any, even threatened, interruption of the 
friendly relations subsisting between the two powers ; 
and then the misunderstanding, whatever it may have 
been, was easily rectified and peace maintained. Ha- 
drian, in a.d. 122, had an interview with Chosroes on 
his eastern frontier, and by personal explanations and 
assurances averted, we are told, 1 an impending out- 
break. Not long afterwards (a.d. 130, probably) he* 
returned to Chosroes the daughter who had been cap- 
tured by Trajan, and at the same time promised the 
restoration of the golden throne, 2 on which the Parthians 
appear to have set a special value. 

It must have been soon after he received back his 
daughter that Chosroes died. His latest coins bear a 
date equivalent to a.d. 128 ; 3 and the Eoman historians 
give Yolagases II. as king of Parthia in a.d. 133. 4 It has 
been generally supposed that this prince was Chosroes' 
son, and succeeded him in the natural course ; 5 but 
the evidence of the Parthian coins is strong against 
these suppositions. According to them, Volagases had 
been a pretender to the Parthian throne as early as 

1 Ml. Spart. Hadrian. § 12, ad 

a Ibid. § 13. 

s A coin of Chosroes in the Brit. 
Museum bears the date BAY, which 
corresponds to A..D. 127-8. A coin 
ascribed to Volagases II. by Mr. 
Lindsay, with the date HMV (a.d. 
136-7), has a head exactly like that 
of Chosroes upon it. (See Lindsay, 

PI. ix. No. 77.) 

4 Dio Cass. lxix. 15 ; Xiphil. Ep. 
Dion. xv. (p. 264). 

5 Vaillant, Hist. Arsac. p. 323 ; 
Eckhel, Doctr. Num. vol. iii. p. 
f>37 ; Lewis, Hist, of the Parthian 
Empire, p. 332 ; Lindsay, History 
and Coinage, p. 116 ; Plate in 
Smith's Diet, of Greek and Roman 
Biography, vol. i. p. 359. 



[Cn. xvm. 

a.d. 78, and had struck coins both in that year and 
the following one, about the date of the accession of 
Pacorus. His attempt had, however, at that time 
failed, and for forty-one years he kept his pretensions 
in abeyance ; but about a.d. 119 or 120 he appears to 
have again come forward, and to have disputed the 
crown with Chosroes, or reigned contemporaneously 
with him over some portion of the Parthian kingdom, 
till about a.d. 130, when — probably on the death of 
Chosroes — he was acknowledged as sole king by the 
entire nation. Such is the evidence of the coins, 
which in this case are very peculiar, and bear the 
name of Volagases from first to last. 1 It seems to 
follow from them that Chosroes was succeeded, not 
by a son, but by a rival, an old claimant of the 
crown, who cannot have been much younger than 
Chosroes himself. 

1 The usual legend on a tetra- 
drachm of Volagases II. is BA2I- 

<f>TAEAAHN02. His drachms bear 
almost universally the inscription 

Jiylxiv>ll, or tote w:b), 

Volyasu Malcha, l King Volagases.' 

Ch. XIX.] 


■ 19 


Reign of Volagases II. Invasion of the Alani. Communications between 
Volagases and Antoninus Pius. Death of Volagases II. and Accession of 
Volagases III. Aggressive War of Volagases III. on Rome. Cam- 
paign of a.d. 162. Verus sent to the East. Sequel of the War. Losses 
suffered by Parthia. Death of Volagases III. 

1 Parthicum bellum, quod Volagessus . . . indixit.' 

Jul. Capit. M. Antonin. § 8. 

Volagases II. appears to have occupied the Parthian 
throne, after the death of Chosroes, for the space of 
nineteen years. His reign has a general character of 
tranquillity, which agrees well with the advanced pe- 
riod of life at which, according to the coins, he first 
became actual king of Parthia. 1 It was disturbed by 
only one actual outbreak of hostilities, an occasion 
upon which Volagases stood upon the defensive ; and 
on one other occasion was for a brief period threat- 
ened with disturbance. Otherwise it seems to have 
been wholly peaceful. So far as appears, no pretenders 
troubled it. The coins show, for the years between 
a.d. 130 and a.d. 149, the head of but one monarch, 

1 If we allow Volagases to have 
been even twenty years of age when 
he first came forward as a claimant 
of the Parthian crown (a.d. 77-8), 

he must have been seventy-two 
at the death of Chosroes in a.d. 


a head of a marked type, which is impossible to be 
mistaken. 1 

The occasion upon which actual hostilities disturbed 
the repose of Volagases was in a.d. 133, when, by the 
intrigues of Pharasmanes, king of the Iberians, a great 
horde of Alani from the tract beyond the Caucasus 
was induced to pour itself through the passes of that 
mountain chain upon the territories of both the Par- 
thians and the Romans. 2 Pharasmanes had pre- 
viously shown contempt for the power of Borne by 
refusing to pay court to Hadrian, when, in a.d. 130, 
he invited the monarchs of Western Asia generally to 
a conference. 3 He had also, it would seem, been in- 
sulted by Hadrian, who, when Pharasmanes sent him 
a number of cloaks made of cloth-of-gold, employed 
them in the adornment of three hundred convicts con- 
demned to furnish sport to the Romans in the amphi- 
theatre. 4 What quarrel he had with the Parthians we 
are not told ; but it is related that at his instigation the 
savage Alani, introduced within the mountain barrier, 
poured at one and the same time into Media Atropa- 
tene, which was a dependency of Parthia ; into Ar- 
menia, which was under Parthamaspates ; and into the 
Roman province of Cappadocia. Volagases sent an 
embassy to Rome complaining of the conduct of Pha- 
rasmanes, 5 who appears to have been regarded as ruling 
under Roman protection ; and that prince was sum- 

1 Volagases II. wears a tiara, or- 
namented at the edge with hooks or 
feathers. His no^e is prominent, 
his eye large, his hair curled, his 
beard pointed and wavy. 

2 Dio Cass. lxix. 15; Zonaras, 
p. 590, C. 

3 ML Spart. Hadrian. § 13. 

4 Ibid. § 17, ad fin. 
6 Dio Case, l.s.c. 

Volagases II. 


nionecl to Rome in order to answer for his conduct. 
But the Alaniiin inroad had to be dealt with at once. 
The Roman governor of Cappadocia, wlio was Arrian, 
the historian of Alexander, by a mere display of force 
drove the barbarians from his province. Volagases 
showed a tamer spirit ; he was content to follow an 
example, often set in the East, and already in one in- 
stance imitated by Rome, 1 but never adopted by any 
nation as a settled policy without fatal consequences, 
and to buy at a high price the retreat of the in- 

It was to have been expected that Rome would 
have punished severely the guilt of Pharasmanes in 
exposing the Empire and its allies to horrors such as 
always accompany the inroads of a barbarous people. 
But though the Iberian monarch was compelled to 
travel to Rome and make his appearance before the 
Emperor's tribunal, 2 yet Hadrian, so far from punish- 
ing him, was induced to load him with benefits and 
honours. He permitted him to sacrifice in the Capitol, 
placed his equestrian statue in the temple of Bellona, 
and granted him an augmentation of territory. 3 Vola- 
gases can scarcely have been pleased at these results of 
his complaints ; he bore them, however, without mur- 
muring, and, when (in A.D. 138) Hadrian died and was 
succeeded by his adopted son, T. Aurelius, better 
known as Antoninus Pius, Volagases sent to Rome an 
embassy of congratulation, and presented the new 
monarch with a crown of £old. 4 

1 In the case of the Daeians. I on the obverse the head of the 
(Uio Cass. Ixviii. G ; Plin. Taney. Emperor, and on the reverse a 
11, 12.) ! female figure, holding- a bow and 

2 Dio Cass. lxix. 15. ! quiver with the left hand, and 
:1 Ibid. presenting a crown with the right, 
4 This appears from a coin struck with the inscription PARTHIA. 

in the first year of Antoninus, having- ! 



It was probably at this same time that he ventured 
to make an unpleasant demand. Hadrian had pro- 
mised that the golden throne which Trajan had cap- 
tured in his expedition, and by which the Parthians 
set so much store, should be surrendered to them ; l 
but this promise he had failed to perforin. Yolagases 
appears to have thought that his successor might be 
more facile, and accordingly instructed his envoys to 
re-open the subject, to remind Antoninus of the pledged 
faith of his adopted father, and to make a formal 
request for the delivery of the valued relic.' 2 Anto- 
ninus, however, proved as obdurate as Hadrian. He 
was not to be persuaded by any argument to give 
back the trophy ; and the envoys had to return with 
the report that their representations upon the point 
had been in vain, and had wholly foiled to move the 
new Emperor. 

The history of Volagases II. ends with this trans- 
action. No events are assignable to the last ten years 
of his reign, which was probably a season of profound 
repose, in the East as it was in the West— a period 
having (as our greatest historian observes of it) 'the 
rare advantage of furnishing very few materials for 
history,' which is, indeed (as he says), ' little more than 
the register of the crimes, follies, and misfortunes of 
mankind.' 3 The influence of Borne extended beyond 
his borders. As in modern times it has become a 
proverb, that when a particular European nation is 
satisfied the peace of the world is assured, so in the 
days whereof we are treating it would seem that Borne 
had only to desire repose, for the surrounding nations 

1 JEl. Spart. Hadrian. § 1-1. 3 Gibbon, Decline and Fall, vol. i. 

2 Jul. Capit. Anton. Pi. § 9. - p. 205; Smith's ed. 


to find themselves tranquil. The inference appears to 
be, that not only were the wars which occurred be- 
tween Borne and her neighbours for the most part 
stirred up by herself; but that even the civil com- 
motions which disturbed States upon her borders had 
very generally their origin in Roman intrigues, which, 
skilfully concealed from view, nevertheless directed the 
course of affairs in surrounding States, and roused in 
them, when Borne thought her interests required it, 
civil differences, disorders, and contentions. 

The successor of Volagases II. was Volagases III., 
who was most probably his son, although of this there 
is no direct evidence. The Parthian coins show x that 
Volagases III. ascended the throne in a.d. 148 or 149, 
and reigned till a.d. 190 or 191 — a space of forty-two 
years. We may assume that he was a tolerably young 
man at his accession, though the effigy upon his earliest 
coins is well bearded, and that he was somewhat tired 
of the long inactivity which had characterised the 
period of his father's rule. He seems very early to 
have meditated a war with Borne, 2 and to have taken 
certain steps which betrayed his intentions ; but, upon 
their coming to the knowledge of Antoninus, and that 
prince writing to him on the subject, Volagases altered 
his plans, 3 and resolved to wait, at any rate, until a 
change of Emperor at Borne should give him a chance 
of taking the enemy at a disadvantage. Thus it was 
not till a.d. 161 — twelve years after his accession — 
that his original design was carried out, and the flames 

1 See Lindsa}', History and Coin- Volagessus.' 
aye, pp. 180, 187. 3 Ibid. Anton. Pi. § 9. < Par- 

2 Jul. Capit. Anton. Phil. § ^ 
1 Parthicum bellum, paratum sub 
Pio, Marci et Veri tempore indixit 

thorum regem ab Armenioruru 
expugnatione solis litteris reppulit 



[Cn. XIX. 

of Avar were onec more lighted in the East to the ruin 
and desolation of the fairest portion of Western Asia. 

The good Antoninus was succeeded in the spring of 
a.d. 161 by his adopted son, Marcus Aurelius, who at 
once associated with him in the government the other 
adopted son of Antoninus, Lucius Verus. Upon this, 
thinking that the opportunity for which he had been so 
long waiting had at last arrived, Volagases marched his 
troops suddenly into Armenia, expelled Soasmus, the 
king protected by the Eomans, 1 and established in his 
place a certain Tigranes, a scion of the old royal stock, 
whom the Armenians regarded as their rightful monarch. 2 
News of this bold stroke soon reached the governors 
of the adjacent Eoman provinces, and Severianus, 
prefect of Cappadocia, a Gaul by birth, incited by the 
predictions of a pseudo-prophet of those parts, named 
Alexander, 3 proceeded at the head of a legion into the 
adjoining kingdom, in the hope of crushing the nascent 
insurrection and punishing at once the Armenian rebels 
and their Parthian supporters. Scarcely, however, had 
he crossed the Euphrates, when he found himself con- 
fronted by an overwhelming force, commanded by a 
Parthian called Chosroes, 4 and was compelled to throw 
himself into the city of Elegeia, where he was imme- 
diately surrounded and besieged. 5 Various tales were 
told of his conduct under these circumstances, and of 
the fate which overtook him ; 6 the most probable 

1 See Jambl. ap. Phot. BibUotlicc. 
Cod. xciv. p. 241 ; Dio Cass. ap. 
Suid. ad voc. Maorio^; Fronto, 
Epist. ad Verum, ii. 1 (p. 127, ed. 

2 Mos. Choren. Hid. Armen. ii. 

3 Lucian. Alex. Pscudo-Mant. 
§ 27. 

1 Ibid. Quomodo Hist, sit con- 

scribend. § 21. 

5 Dio Cass. lxxi. 2. 

6 According to some, he starved 
himself (Lucian. l.s.c.) ; according- 
to others, he cut his throat with a 
piece of glass (ibid. § 27). The 
true account of his death is given 

by Dio. (l.S.C. OvoXoycuaog . . . 
(TTpciTu7rtcov o\ov 'Phjfia'licbv avTolg 
t'lysfiocri KctTtToKsuot Kai fokfOeipf.) 


account being that after lidding out for three days he 
and his troops were assailed on all sides, and, after a 
brave resistance, were shot down almost to a man. 
The Parthians then crossed the Euphrates, and carried 
fire and sword through Syria, 1 Attidins Cornelianus, 
the proconsul, having ventured to oppose them, was 
repulsed. 2 Vague thoughts of flying to arms and 
shaking off the Koinan yoke possessed the minds of 
the Syrians, 3 and threatened to lead to some overt act. 
The Parthians passed through Syria into Palestine, and 
almost the whole East seemed to lie open to their 
incursions. When these facts were reported at Eome, 
it was resolved to send Lucius Verus to the East. He 
was of an age to undergo the hardships of campaign- 
ing, and therefore better fitted than Marcus Aurelius to 
undertake the conduct of a great war. But, as his 
military talent was distrusted, it was considered neces- 
sary to place at his disposal a number of the best 
Eoman generals of the time, whose services he might 
use while he claimed as his own their successes. Statius 
Priscus, Avidius Cassius, and Martins Verus, were the 
most important of these officers ; and it was by them, 
and not by Verus himself, that the military operations 
were, in fact, conducted. 

It was not till late in the year A.D. 162 that Verus, 
having with reluctance torn himself from Italy, 4 ap- 
peared, with his lieutenants, upon the scene in Syria, 
and, after vainly offering them terms of peace, 5 com- 
menced hostilities against the triumphant Parthians. 
The young Emperor did not adventure his own person 

1 Dio Cass. Ixxi. 2 ; Oros. vii. 15. ! 4 Ibid, l.s.c. 

2 Jul. Capit Anton. Phil. § 8. 5 Fronto, Prineip. Hist. p. 2C8, 

3 Ibid. Ver. Imperat. § G. ' Syria ed. Naber. 
defectionem co<ritantibus.' 


in the field, but stationed himself at Antioch, 1 where 
he could enjoy the pleasures and amusements of a 
luxurious capital, while he committed to his lieutenants 
the task of recovering Syria and Armenia, and of 
chastising the invaders. Avidius Cassius, to whom the 
Syrian legions were entrusted, had a hard task to 
bring them into proper discipline after their long period 
of inaction, 2 but succeeded after a while by the use of 
almost unexampled severities. Attacked by Volagases 
within the limits of his province, he made a successful 
defence, 3 and in a short time was able to take the 
offensive, to defeat Volagases in a great battle near 
Europus, 4 and (a.d. 163) to drive the Parthians across 
the Euphrates. The Armenian war was at the same 
time being pressed by Statius Prisons, who advanced 
without a check from the frontier to the capital, Ar- 
taxata, which he took and (as it seems) destroyed. 5 
He then built a new city, which he strongly garrisoned 
with Roman troops, and sent intelligence of his suc- 
cesses to Pome, whither Soscmus, the expelled monarch, 
had betaken himself. Soamrus was upon this replaced 
on the Armenian throne, the task of settling him in the 
government being deputed to a certain Thucydides, by 
whose efforts, together with those of Martius Yerus, 
all opposition to the restored monarch was suppressed, 
and the entire country tranquillised. 6 

Rome had thus in the space of two years recovered 
her losses, and shown Parthia that she was still well 

1 Dio Cass. lxi. 2 ; Jul. Capit. 
Ver. Imp. § 7. 

2 Vulc. Gall. Avid. Cass. §§ 5, 

3 Dio CaSS. 1.S.C 'ETrtorrcr rbv 
QboXoyuioov yewaibig vir&fittve. 

4 Lucian. Qaomodo historia sit 

G. Compare Fronto, Trincip. Hist, conscrib. § 20 and § 28. 

pp. 20(5-208 ; where, however, the 5 Jul. Capit. Ant. Phil. § 9 ; 

credit of establishing a proper dis- Suidas ad voc. Brjpot. 

cipline is assigned by the polite ° Suidas, l.s.c. Comp. Jnmblich. 

courtier to Yerus, ap. l'hot. Bibl. xciv. p. 241. 


able to maintain the position in Western Asia which 
she had acquired by the victories of Trajan. But such 
a measure of success did not content the ambitious 
generals into whose hands the incompetence of Verus 
had thrown the real direction of the war. Military 
distinction at this time offered to a Eoman a path to 
the very highest honours, each successful general be- 
coming at once by force of his position a candidate for 
the Imperial dignity. Of the various able officers em- 
ployed under Verus, the most distinguished and the 
most ambitious was Cassius — a chief who ultimately 
raised the standard of revolt against Aurelius, and lost 
his life in consequence. 1 Cassius, after he had suc- 
ceeded in clearing Syria of the invaders, was made by 
Aurelius a sort of generalissimo ; 2 and being thus free 
to act as he chose, determined to carry the war into 
the enemy's country, and to try if lie could not rival, 
or outdo, tlie exploits of Trajan fifty years previously. 
Though we have no continuous narrative of his expe- 
dition, we may trace its course with tolerable accuracy 
in the various fragmentary writings which bear upon the 
history of the time — from Zeugma, when he crossed 
the Euphrates into Mesopotamia, 3 to Nicephorium, 4 near 
the junction of the Belik with the Euphrates ; and 
thence down the course of the stream to Sura 5 (Sip- 
para ?) and Babylon. At Sura a battle was fought, in 
which the Eomans were victorious ; and then the final 
efforts were made, which covered Cassius with glory. 
The great city of Seleucia, upon the Tigris, which had 
a population of 400,000 souls, was besieged, taken, 

1 Yule. Gall. Avid. Cass. § 7 ; 
Dio Cass. lxxi. 22-27. 

2 Dio Cass. lxxi. 3; Yule. Gall. 
Avid. Cass. § 6. 

3 Dio Cass. Fr. ap. Suidam, sub 

VOC. 7j(vyfia. 

4 Fronto, Epist. ii. 1, p. 121. 

5 Lucian. Quomodo, &c, § 20. 
c Jul. Cap. Ver. Imp. § 7. 


and burnt, to punish an alleged treason of the inhabit- 
ants. 1 Ctesiphon, upon the opposite side of the 
stream, was occupied, and the summer palace of Vola- 
gases there situated was levelled with the ground. 2 
The various temples were plundered ; secret places, 
where it was thought treasure might be hid, were 
examined, and a rich booty was carried off by the 
invaders. The Parthians, worsted in every encounter, 
ceased to resist ; and all the conquests made by Trajan 
were recovered. Nor was this all. The Eoman 
general, after conquering the Mesopotamian plain, ad- 
vanced into the Zagros mountains, and occupied, at any 
rate, a portion of Media, thereby entitling his Imperial 
masters to add to the titles of ' Armeniacus,' and ' Par- 
thicus,' which they had already assumed, the further 
and wholly novel title of ' Medicus.' 3 

But Rome was not to escape the Nemeefis which is 
wont to pursue the over-fortunate. During the stay 
of the army in Babylonia, a disease Avas contracted of 
a strange and terrible character, whereto the supersti- 
tious fears of the soldiers assigned a supernatural origin. 
The pestilence, they said, had crept forth from a sub- 
terranean cell in the temple of Coma3an Apollo at 
Seleucia, 4 which those Avho were plundering the town 
rashly opened in the hope of its containing treasure, 
but which held nothing except this fearful scourge, 
placed there in primeval times by the spells of the 
Chaldeans. Such a belief, however fanciful, was cal- 

1 Dio Cass. Ixxi. 2 ; Jul. Cap. 3 Jul. Capit. Ver. Imp. § 7. 
Ver. Imp. § 8; Eutrop. Brev. viii. Compare Ecldiel, Doct. Num. vol. 
5; Oros. vii. 15; Amm, Marc. vii. pp. ol and 92. 

xxiii. G. Capitolinus disbelieves 4 See Ammian. Marc, xxiii. G, 

the charge made against the Seleu- § 24. Compare Jul. Capit. Ver. 

cians. Imp. § 8. 

2 Dio Cass, l.s.c. 


ciliated to increase the destructive power of the malady, 
and so to multiply its victims. Vast numbers of the 
soldiers perished, we arc told, from its effects during 
the march homeward ; their sufferings being further 
aggravated by the failure of supplies, which was such 
that many died of famine. 1 The stricken army, upon 
entering the Roman territory, communicated the infec- 
tion to the inhabitants, and the return of Verus and 
his troops to Borne was a march of Death through the 
provinces. The pestilence raged with special force 
throughout Italy, and spread as far as the Rhine and 
the Atlantic Ocean. 2 According to one writer, 3 more 
than one-half of the entire population, and almost the 
whole Roman army, was carried off by it. 

But though Rome suffered in consequence of the 
war, its general result w^as undoubtedly disadvantageous 
to the Parthians. The expedition of Cassius was the 
first invasion of Parthia in which Rome had been alto- 
gether triumphant. Trajan's campaign had brought 
about the submission of Armenia to the Romans ; but 
it did not permanently deprive Parthia of any portion 
of her actual territory. And the successes of the 
Emperor in his advance were almost balanced by the 
disasters which accompanied his retreat — disasters so 
serious as to cause a general belief that Hadrian's con- 
cessions sprang more from prudence than from gene- 
rosity. The war of Verus produced the actual cession 
to Rome of a Parthian province, which continued 
thenceforth for centuries to be an integral portion of 
the Roman empire. 4 Western Mesopotamia, or the 

. ' Dio Cass. lxxi. 2. ! hominum pars, militum omnes fere 

2 Amm. Marc, l.s.c. j copise languore defecerint.' Com- 

3 Eutrop. Brev. viii.G : — 'Tantus | pare Oros. vii. 15. 

casus pestilentiae fuit, ut . . . per 4 This is seen most clearly in the 
Italiam provinciasque maxima { series of Mesopotamia!! coins, espe- 


tract between the Euphrates and the Khabour, passed 
under the dominion of Rome at this time ; and, though 
not reduced to the condition of a province, was none 
the less lost to Parlhia, and absorbed by Rome into 
her territory. Parthia, moreover, was penetrated by 
the Roman arms more deeply at this time than she had 
ever been previously, and was made to feel, as she had 
never felt before, that in contending with Rome she 
was fighting a losing battle. It added to the disgrace 
of her defeats, and to her own sense of their decisive 
character, that they were inflicted by a mere general, 
a man of no very great eminence, and one who was 
far from possessing the free command of those immense 
resources which Rome had at her disposal. 

Parthia had now, in fact, entered upon the third 
stage of her decline. The first was reached when she 
ceased to be an aggressive, and was content to become 
a stationary, power ; 1 the second set in when she began 
to lose territory by the revolt of her own subjects ; 2 
the third — which commences at this point — is marked 
by her inability to protect herself from the attacks of a 
foreign assailant. The causes of her decline were 
various. Luxury had no doubt done its ordinary work 
upon the conquerors of rich and highly-civilised re- 
gions, softening down their original ferocity, and ren- 
dering them at once less robust in frame, and less bold 
and venturesome in character. The natural law of 
exhaustion, which sooner or later affects all races of 
any distinction, may also not improbably have come 
into play, rendering the Parthians of the age of Yerus 

cially those of Carrhre and Edessa, Mionnet, Description tie Med. Ant. 

which bear on the obverse the head torn. v. pp. 593-625.) 

of a Roman Emperor from the 2 See above, p. 104. 

time of Aurelius and Vei'us. (See - See page 203. 


very degenerate descendants of those who displayed 
such brilliant qualities when they contended with 
Crassus and Mark Antony. Loyalty towards the 
monarch, and the absolute devotion of every energy to 
his service, which characterised the earlier times, dwin- 
dled and disappeared as the succession became more 
and more disputed, and the kings less worthy of their 
subjects' admiration. The strength needed against 
foreign enemies was, moreover, frequently expended 
in civil broils ; the spirit of patriotism declined ; and 
tameness under insult and indignity took the place of 
that fierce pride and fiery self-assertion which had once 
characterised the people. 

The war with Rome terminated in the year a.d. 165. 
Volagases survived its close for at least twenty-five 
years ; but he did not venture at any time to renew 
the struggle, or to make any effort for the recovery of 
his lost territory. Once only does he appear to have 
contemplated an outbreak. When, about the year 
a.d. 174 or 175, Aurelius being occupied in the west 
with repelling the attacks of the wild tribes upon the 
Danube, Avidius Cassius assumed the purple in Syria, 1 
and a civil war seemed to be imminent, Volagases ap- 
pears to have shown an intention of once more taking 
arms and trying his fortune. A Parthian war was at 
this time expected to break out by the Eomans. 2 But 
the crisis passed without an actual explosion. The 
promptness of Aurelius, who, on hearing the news, at 
once quitted the Danube and inarched into Syria, toge- 
ther with the rapid collapse of the Cassian revolt, ren- 
dered it imprudent for Volagases to persist in his pro- 

1 Jul. Cap. Avid. Ca<s. § 7 ; Dio ' Inmiinebat et Parthicum bellum 
Cass. Ixxi. t>2. et Britannicum.' 

2 Jul. Capit. Ant. PIdl. § 22. 


ject. lie therefore laid aside all thought of renewing 
hostilities with Rome ; and on the arrival of Aurelius 
in Syria, sent ambassadors to him with friendly assu- 
rances, who were received favourably by the philo- 
sophic Emperor. 1 

Four years after this Marcus Aurelius died, 2 and was 
succeeded in the purple by his youthful son, Lucius 
Aurelius Commodus. It 'might have been expected 
that the accession of this weak and inexperienced 
prince would have induced Volagases to resume his 
Avarlike projects, and attempt the recovery of Mesopo- 
tamia. But the scanty history of the time which has 
come down to us 3 shows no trace of his having enter- 
tained any such design. He had probably reached 
the age at which repose becomes a distinct object of 
desire, and is infinitely preferred to active exertion. 
At any rate, it is clear that he made no effort. The 
reign of Commodus was from first to last untroubled 
by Oriental disturbance. Volagases III. was for ten 
years contemporary with this mean and unwarlike 
prince ; but Rome was allowed to retain her Parthian 
conquests unmolested. At length, in a.d. 190 or 191, 
Volagases died, 4 and the destinies of Parthia passed 
into the hands of a new monarch. 

1 Jul. Capit. Ant. Phil. § 20, ad diau (book i.), and Lampridius in 
init. The ' Persian ambassadors' the Historic^ Augusta Scripiorcs. 
of this passage are undoubtedly These writers are almost silent as 
envoys from Volagases. to the condition of the East at the 

3 a.d. 180. (See Clinton, F. R. \ period, 
vol. i. p. 178.) 4 The latest coins of Volngases 

3 Our authorities for the time III. bear the date B*, which cor- 
of Commodus are three only: Dioin i responds to the latter part of a.d. 
the Epitome of Xiphilinus, Hero- ! 100 and the earlier of a.d. 191. 



Accession of Volagases IV. His Alliance sought by Pesccnnius Niger. 
Part taken by Parthia in the Contest, between Niger and Severus. Meso- 
potamia revolts from Rome. First Eastern Expedition of Severus. Its 
Residts. Second Expedition. Successes of Severus. His Failure at 
Hatra. General Results of the War. Death of Volagases IV. 

Mera 5e ravra 6 ^.efiripos iKcrrparevei Kara ruu TldpOuu . . . fy>x e ^' <*-vtuv 
Ovo\6yaiaos. — Dio Cass. lxxv. 9. 

Ox the death of Volagases III, in a.d. 190 or 191, the 
Parthian crown fell to another prince of the same name, 
who was probably the eldest son of the late monarch. 1 
This prince was scarcely settled upon the throne when 
the whole of Western Asia was violently disturbed by 
the commotions which shook the Roman Empire 
after the murder of Commodus. The virtuous Per- 
tinax was allowed to reign but three months (a.d. 
193, January — March). His successor was scarcely 
proclaimed when in three different quarters the legion- 
aries rose in arms, and, saluting their commanders as 
4 Emperors,' invested them with the purple. Clodius 
Albums, in Britain ; Severus, in Pannonia ; and Pes- 
cennius Niger, in Syria, at one and the same time 
claimed the place which the wretched Julianus had 
bought, and prepared themselves to maintain their 
rights against all who should impugn them. It seems 

1 Reimar and others have sup- ! Cassius (lxxv. 9, ad Jin.). But it is 
posed that Volagases, the adversary ! more probable that the fragment 
of Severus, was the son of a Sa- j refers to a different Volagases, an 
natrceces, or Sanatruces, on the Armenian prince, contemporary 
strength of a fragment of Dio | with the Parthian Volagases IV. 


that, on the first proclamation of Niger, and before it 
had become evident that he would have to establish 
his authority by force of arms, either the Parthian 
monarch, or at any rate princes who were among his 
dependants, 1 sent to congratulate the new Emperor on 
his accession, and to offer him contingents of troops, if 
lie required them. These spontaneous proposals were at 
the first politely declined, since Niger expected to find 
himself accepted joyfully as sovereign, and did not 
look to have to engage in war. When, however, the 
news reached him that he had formidable competitors, 
and that Severus, acknowledged Emperor at Home, 
was about to set out for the East, at the head of vast 
forces, he saw that it would be necessary for him, if he 
were to make head against his powerful rival, to draw 
together troops from all quarters. Accordingly, to- 
wards the close of a.d. 193, he sent envoys to the princes 
beyond the Euphrates, and especially to the kings of 
Parthia, Armenia, and Hatra, entreating them to send 
their troops at once to his aid. 2 Yolagases, under these 
circumstances, appears to have hesitated. He sent an 
answer that he would issue orders to his satraps for 
the collection of a force, but made no haste to redeem 
his promise, and in fact refrained from despatching any 
body of distinctly Parthian troops to the assistance of 
Niger in the impending struggle. 

While, however, thus abstaining from direct inter- 
ference in the contest between the two Soman pre- 
tenders, Yolagases appears to have allowed one of his 
dependent monarchs to mix himself up in the quarrel. 
Hatra, at this time the capital of an Arabian com- 

1 Herodian. ii. 31. The expres- | (rnrnu-ai ieai (3nai\il^ i7tscTi\\or f 
sions used are eomewh.-it vague — ■ k-.\. 
6i re iir'fKttpa TiypiSo-j Kai \lvp\nnov \ 2 Herodian. iii. 1. 

OH. XX.] All) LENT 15V HIM TO NIGER. 335 

munity, 1 and the chief city of central Mesopotamia 
(or the tract between the Sinjar and the Babylonian 
alluvium), was a dependency of Parthia, and though, 
like so many other Parthian dependencies, it possessed 
its native kings, 2 cannot have been in a position to 
engage in a great war without permission from the 
Court of Ctesiphon. When, therefore, we find that 
Barsemius, the King of Hatra, not only received the 
envoys of Niger favourably, but actually sent to his 
aid a body of archers, 8 we must understand that Vola- 
gases sanctioned the measure. Probably he thought it 
prudent to secure the friendship of the pretender whom 
lie expected to be successful, but sought to effect this 
in the way that would compromise him least if the 
result of the struggle should be other than he looked 
for. The sending of his own troops to the camp of 
Niger would have committed him irretrievably ; but the 
actions of a vassal monarch might with some plausi- 
bility be disclaimed. 

As the struggle between the two pretenders pro- 
gressed in the early months of A.D. 194, the nations 
beyond the Euphrates grew bolder, and allowed them- 
selves to indulge their natural feelings of hostility 
towards the Eomans. The newly subjected Meso- 
potamians flew to arms, massacred most of. the Eoman 
detachments stationed about their country, and laid 

1 Arab tribes from a very early I rhoene is reckoned as Arabian by 
period held portions of Mesopota- j Plutarch (Crass. § 21), and Appia.n 
mia. Xenophon calls the tract | (Parth. p. 140, A). Hatra, or 
between the Khabour and the Ba- j Atra (now el-IIadhr), is first men- 
bylonian alluvium ' Arabia ' (Anab. j tioned in the wars of Trajan, and 
i. 5, § 1). Strabo assigns the same j is always said to be Arabian. (See 
region to ' Scenite Arabs' (xvi. 1, j l)io Cass, lxviii. 31 ; lxxv. 10-12; 
§ 26). Arabs appear in Upper Me- j Herodian. iii. 28 ; &c.) 
sopotamia about the time of i 2 Herodian. iii. 1 and 27. 
Pompey (Dio Cass. xxxv. 2). Os- 3 Ibid. iii. 1. 


siege to Nisibis, 1 which since the cession Rome had 
made her head-quarters. The natives of the region 
were assisted by their kindred races across the Tigris, 
particularly by the people of Adiabency who, like the 
Arabs of Ilatra, were Parthian vassals. Severus had no 
sooner overcome his rival and slain him, than he 
hastened eastward with the object of relieving the 
troops shut up in Nisibis, and of chastising the rebels 
and their abettors. It was in vain that the Meso- 
potamia^ sought to disarm his resentment by declaring 
that they had taken up arms in his cause, and had 
been only anxious to distress and injure the partisans 
of his antagonist. Though they sent ambassadors to 
him with presents, and offered to make restitution of 
the Roman spoil still in their hands, and of the Roman 
prisoners, it was observed that they said nothing about 
restoring the strongholds which they had taken, or 
resuming the position of Roman tributaries. On the 
contrary, they required that all Roman soldiers still in 
their country should be withdrawn from it, and that 
their independence should henceforth be respected. 3 
As Severus was not inclined to surrender Roman ter- 
ritory without a contest, war was at once declared. 
His immediate adversaries were of no great account, 
being, as they were, the petty kings of Osrhoene, 
Adiabene, and Hatra ; but behind them loomed the 
massive form of the Parthian State, which was attacked 
through them, and could not be indifferent to their 

In the spring of a.d. 195, Severus, at the head of 
his troops, crossed the Euphrates in person, and taking 

1 Dio Cass. lxxv. 1. I 7ro\iopK(wvT£:,\:-.\, 

2 Ibid. Ol fx'tv 'Ofrpor/i'oi Kai oi s Ibid. 
'Aciafi t]vol a-ooravTiQ Kai Ni'<xr/3<i.' , 


up Ills own quarters at Nisibis, which the Mesopota- 
mians had been unable to capture, proceeded to employ 
his generals in the reduction of the rebels and the casti- 
gation of their aiders and abettors. Though his men 
suffered considerably from the scarcity and badness of 
the water, 1 yet he seems to have found no great diffi- 
culty in reducing Mesopotamia once more into subjec- 
tion. Having brought it completely under, and formally 
made Nisibis the capital, at the same time raising it to 
the dignified position of a Eoinan colony, 2 he caused his 
troops to cross the Tigris into Adiabene, and, though 
the inhabitants offered a stout resistance, succeeded 
in making himself master of the country. 3 The Par- 
thian monarch seems to have made no effort to prevent 
the occupation of this province. He stood probably 
on the defensive, expecting to be attacked, in or near 
his capital. But Severus could not afford to remain 
in these remote regions. He had still a rival in the 
West in the person of Clodius Albinus, who might 
be expected to descend upon Italy, if it were left ex- 
posed to his attacks much longer. He therefore quitted 

1 Dio tells a story, which has a ' sented to drink and were refreshed, 

somewhat apocryphal air, to illus- (Dio Cass. lxxv. 2.) 

trate the sufferings of the army. ~ Dio says vaguely that Severus 

An especially dry summer had, he 'gave dignity' to Nisibis (lxxv. 3, 

tells us, caused the springs gene- u^ivjfia t?j Ni«ri'/3« doi*^). The nature 

rally to fail, and the troops on their of the dignity appears from the 

way through the desert were so coins, which give Nisibis the titles 

parched with drought, and so of KOAQNIA and MHTPOnOAir. 

choked with dust, that they could (See Mionnet, Description, §c, torn, 

no longer converse, but could v. pp. G25-G28.) 

barely articulate ' Water, water.' 3 Dio Cass, l.s.c. Compare Spar- 

At length they reached a well, but tian. Seo. Imp. § i). In commemo- 

the water was so foul that at first ration of these successes Severus 

none would drink it. Seeing this, took the epithets of Arabicus and 

Severus caused a goblet to be Adiabenicus, which are frequent in 

filled for himself, and in the sight his inscriptions and on his coin*, 

of the troops swallowed the whole (See Clinton, F. JR. vol. i. p. 190.) 
at a draught. The men then con- 


the East early in a.d. 19G, and returned to Home with 
all speed, leaving Parthia very insufficiently chastised, 
and his new conquests very incompletely settled. 

Scarcely was he gone when the war broke out with 
greater violence than ever. Volagases took the oflfen- 
sive, recovered Adiabene, and crossing the Tigris into 
Mesopotamia, swept the Eomans from the open coun- 
try. Nisibis alone, which two years before had defied all 
the efforts of the Mesopotamians, held out against him, 
and even this stronghold was within a little of being 
taken. 1 According to one writer, 2 the triumphant 
Parthians even crossed the Euphrates, and once more 
spread themselves over the fertile plains of Syria. 
Severus was forced in a.d. 197 to make a second 
Eastern expedition, to recover his lost glory and justify 
the titles which he had taken. On his first arrival in 
Syria, he contented himself with expelling the Par- 
thians from the province, nor was it till late in the 
year, 3 that, having first made ample preparation, he 
crossed the Euphrates into Mesopotamia. 

The success of any expedition against Parthia de- 
pended greatly on the dispositions of the semi-dependent 
princes, who possessed territories bordering upon those 
of the two great empires. Among these the most im- 
portant were at this time the kings of Armenia and 
Osrhoene. Armenia had at the period of Niger's 
attempt been solicited by his emissaries ; but its mo- 
narch had then refused to take any part in the civil 
conflict. 4 Subsequently, however, he in some way 

1 See Dio Cass. lxxv. 9. 3 '-Estate igitur jam exeunte in- 

2 Spartianus. See his ' Life of i gressus,' &c. (Spartian. Sev. Imp. 
Severus,' § 15, where we are told § 16, ad init.) 
that Severus, as soon as he arrived 4 Herodian. iii. 1. 
in Syria, ' Parthos summovitJ 


offended Severus, who, when he readied the East, re- 
garded Armenia as a hostile State requiring instant 
subjugation. 1 It seems to have been in the summer of 
a.d. 197, soon after his first arrival in Syria, that Se- 
verus despatched a force against the Armenian prince, 
who was named (like the Parthian monarch of the 
time) Volagases. That prince mustered his troops and 
met the invaders at the frontier of his kingdom. A 
battle seemed imminent ; but ere the fortune of war 
was tried the Armenian made an application for a 
truce, which was granted by the Eoman leaders. A 
breathing-space being thus gained, Volagases sent am- 
bassadors with presents and hostages to the Eoman 
emperor in Syria, professed to be animated by friendly 
feelings towards Eome, and entreated Severus to allow 
him terms of peace. Severus permitted himself to be 
persuaded ; a formal treaty was made, and the Arme- 
nian prince even received an enlargement of his pre- 
vious territory at the hands of his mollified suzerain. 2 

The Osrhoenian monarch, who bore the usual name 
of Abgarus, made a more complete and absolute sub- 
mission. He came in person into the emperor's camp, 
accompanied by a numerous body of archers, and 
bringing with him his sons as hostages. 3 Severus must 
have hailed with especial satisfaction the adhesion of 
this chieftain, which secured him the undisturbed pos- 
session of Western Mesopotamia as far as the junction 
of the Khabour with the Euphrates. It was his design 
to proceed himself by the Euphrates route, 4 while he 

1 Compare on this subject Hero- cession to Volagases of some part 
dian. iii. 27 with Dio Cass. lxxv. 0. of the Roman Armenia (Armenia 

2 This is to be gathered from the Minor). 

expression of Dio (lxxv. 9, ad fin. 3 Herodian. iii. 27, ad fin. 

fitftoc -t rife 'Apfitviag i-i r^ eipfjiy 4 Dio Cass. lxxv. 9. 
'xaptanro), which must denote the 

z 2 

340 the sixth monarchy. [Ch. xx. 

sent detachments under other leaders to ravage Eastern 
Mesopotamia and Adiabenc, 1 which had evidently been 
re-occupied by the Parthians. To secure his army 
from want, he determined, like Trajan, 2 to build a fleet 
of ships in Upper Mesopotamia, where suitable timber 
abounded, and to march his army down the left bank 
of the Euphrates into Babylonia, while his transports, 
laden with stores, descended the course of the river. 3 
In this way he reached the neighbourhood of Ctesi- 
phon without suffering any loss, and easily captured the 
two great cities of Babylon and Seleucia, which on his 
approach were evacuated by their garrisons. He then 
proceeded to the attack of Ctesiphon itself, passing his 
ships probably through one of the canals which united 
the Tigris with the Euphrates, or else (like Trajan) con- 
veying them on rollers across the neck of land which 
separates the two rivers. 

Volagases had taken up his own position at Ctesiphon, 
bent on defending his capital. It is possible that the 
approach of Severus by the line of inarch which he 
pursued was unexpected, 4 and that the sudden pre- 
sence of the Eomans before the walls of Ctesiphon 
came upon the Parthian monarch as a surprise. He 
seems, at any rate, to have made but a poor resistance. 
It may be gathered, indeed, from one author 5 that 
he met the invaders in the open held, and fought 
a battle in defence of Ctesiphon before allowing him- 
self to be shut up within its walls. But after the city 

1 This seems to be the only way the Romans found the Parthians 
of reconciling- Dio (lxxv. 9) with unprepared (-potnrEaovTee ol 'Puifiaiat 
Ilerodian (iii. 28, ad init.). <nrap<\aKivaoToiq toIq fiapfiapoic, iii. 

2 See above, page 310. 30). 

3 Dio Cass, l.s.c. 5 Spartianus (Sev. Imp. § 16. 

4 Herodian's narrative is absurd ' Ctesiphontem pulso rege perve- 
as it stands; but there may be nit'). 

some truth in his statement that 


was once invested it appears to have been quickly 
taken. We hear of no such resistance as that which 
was soon afterwards offered by Hatra. The soldiers 
of Severus succeeded in storming Ctesiphon on the 
first assault ; the Parthian monarch betook himself to 
flight, accompanied by a few horsemen ; 1 and the seat 
of empire thus fell easily — a second time within the 
space of eighty-two years — into the hands of a foreign 
invader. The treatment of the city was such as we 
might expect from the ordinary character of Eoman 
warfare. A general massacre of the male population 
was made. The soldiers were allowed to plunder both 
the public and the private buildings at their pleasure. 
The precious metals accumulated in the royal treasury 
were seized, and the chief ornaments of the palace were 
taken and carried off. Xor did blood and plunder con- 
tent the victors. After slaughtering the adult males 
they made prize of the women and children, who were 
torn from their homes without compunction and led 
into captivity, to the number of a hundred thousand. 2 

Notwithstanding the precautions which he had taken, 
Severus appears to have become straitened for supplies 
about the time that he captured Ctesiphon. His sol- 
diers were compelled for some days to exist on roots, 
which produced a dangerous dysentery. 3 He found 
himself unable to pursue Volagases, 4 and recognised 
the necessity of retreating before disaster overtook 
him. He could not, however, return by the route of 

1 Herodian. l.s.c. Dio implies I duni cepit, et regem fugavit, et 
the flight of Yolagases, when he I 2^'imos interemit.' 

says ov ft&vTot ovrt. rbv {)vo\6yaiaw i 3 Spartian. Sev. Imp. § 10. 
kTTtc'noln' [6 S«/i;pog |. 4 Ibid. ' Longius ire non potuit.' 

2 Compare Dio Cass. lxxv. 9 Dio, however, expresses surprise 
with Herodian. iii. 30; and see also i that no pursuit was attempted. 
.Spartian. Sev. Imp. § 1(3: ' Oppi- | 

342 Till: SIXTH MONARCHY. [Cn. XX. 

the Euphrates, since his army had upon its advance 
completely exhausted the resources of the Euphrates 
region. 1 The line of the Tigris was therefore pre- 
ferred for the retreat ; and while the ships with diffi- 
culty made their way up the course of the stream, the 
army pursued its march upon the banks, without, so 
far as appears, any molestation. It happened, however, 
that the route selected led Severus near to the small 
state of Ilatra, which had given him special offence by 
supporting the cause of his rival, Niger ; and it seemed 
to him of importance that the inhabitants should re- 
ceive condign punishment for this act of audacity. He 
may also have hoped to eclipse the fame of Trajan 
by the capture of a town which had successfully re- 
sisted that hero. 2 He therefore stopped his march in 
order to lay siege to the place, which he attacked with 
military engines, and with all the other offensive means 
known at the time to the Romans. His first attempt 
was, however, easily repulsed. 3 The walls of the town 
were strong, its defenders brave and full of enterprise. 
They burnt the siege-machines brought against them, 
and committed great havoc among the soldiers. Un- 
der these circumstances disorders broke out among the 
besiegers ; mutinous words were heard ; and the empe- 
ror thought himself compelled to have recourse to 
severe measures of repression. Having put to death 
two of his chief officers, 4 and then found it necessary to 

Dio Cass. Ixxv. 9. and internally more probable, seems 

2 See above, p. 315. 

3 Dio Cass. Ixxv. 10. It is un- 


4 One of these was Ltetus, who 

certain whether Herodiau means to | a little earlier had saved Nisibis 

describe the first or second attack, 
lie mentions one siege only, and 
places it before that of Ctesiphon 
(iii. 28, 29); but the narrative of 

(supra, p. 338, note ; ). Severus 
(according- to Dio) grew jealous of 
him, because the soldiers declared 
that thev would follow no other 

Dio, which is at once more minute, leader. Marius Maximus, how- 


deny that he had given orders for the execution of one 
of them, he broke up from before the place and removed 
his camp to a distance. 

He had not, however, as yet relinquished the hope 
of bringing his enterprise to a successful issue. In the 
security of his distant camp he constructed fresh en- 
gine's in increased numbers, collected an abundant 
supply of provisions, and made every preparation for 
renewing the siege with effect at no remote period. 1 
The treasures stored up in the cit}^ were reported to be 
great, especially those which the piety of successive 
generations had accumulated in the Temple of the 
Sun. 2 This rich booty appealed forcibly to the cupidity 
of the emperor, while his honour seemed to require 
that he should not suffer a comparatively petty town 
to defy his arms with impunity. He, therefore, after a 
short absence retraced his steps, and appeared a second 
time before Hatra with a stronger siege-train and a 
better appointed army than before. But the Hatreni 
met his attack with a resolution equal to his own. 
They were excellent archers ; they possessed a powerful 
force of cavalry ; they knew their walls to be strong ; 
and they were masters of a peculiar kind of fire, 
which was calculated to terrify and alarm, if not greatly 
to injure, an enemy unacquainted with its qualities. 3 
Severus once more lost almost all his machines ; 
the Hatrene cavalry severely handled his foragers ; his 
men for a long time made but little impression upon 
the walls, while they suffered grievously from the 

ever, assigned his death to a differ- ' 3 The combustible material used 

ent cause, and placed it earlier, is said to have been naphtha, the 

(See Spartian. Sev. Imp. § lo.) flame of which was thought to be 

1 almost inextinguishable. (DioCass. 

2 Ibid. lxxv. 12. The ruins of Fr. 175, § 2 ; lxxv. 11. Compare 
this temple still exist at El Iladhr. Amm. Marc, xxiii. 6, p. 400.) 
(See the Frontispiece to this volume.) ; 


enemy's slingers 1 and archers, from his warlike engines, 
and especially, avc are told, from the fiery darts which 
were rained upon them incessantly. 2 However, after 
enduring these various calamities for a length of time, 
the perseverance of the Eomans was rewarded by the 
formation of a practicable breach in the outer wall ; 
and the soldiers demanded to be led to the assault, 
confident in their power to force an entrance and carry 
the place. 3 But the emperor resisted their inclination. 
He did not wish that the city should be stormed, since 
in that case it must have been given up to indis- 
criminate pillage, and the treasures which he coveted 
would have become the prey of the soldiery. The 
Hatreni, he thought, would make their submission, if 
he only gave them a little time, now that they must 
see further resistance to be hopeless. He waited 
therefore a day, expecting an offer of surrender. But 
the Hatreni made no sign, and in the ni^ht restored 
their wall where it had been broken down. Severus 
then made up his mind to sacrifice the treasures on 
■which his heart had been set, and, albeit with reluc- 
tance, gave the word for the assault. But now the 
legionaries refused. They had been forbidden to attack 
when success was certain and the danger trivial — they 
were now required to imperil their lives while the 
result could not but be doubtful. Perhaps they divined 
the emperor's motive in withholding them from the 
assault, and resented it ; at any rate they openly de- 
clined to execute his orders. After a vain attempt to 
force an entrance by means of his Asiatic allies, Severus 
desisted from his undertaking. The summer was far 

1 Ilerodian. iii. 28. " Ibid. ch. 12. 

2 Dio Cass. lxxv. 11, ad fin. 


advanced ; ] the heat was great ; disease had broken 
out among his troops ; above all, they had become 
demoralised, and their obedience could no longer be 
depended on. 2 Severus broke up from before Hatra a 
second time, after having besieged it for twenty days, 3 
and returned — by what route we are not told — into 

Nothing is more surprising in the history of this 
campaign than the inaction and apparent apathy of 
the Parthians. Volagases, after quitting his capital, 
seems to have made no effort at all to hamper or 
harass his adversary. The prolonged resistance of 
Hatra, the sufferings of the Eomans, their increasing 
difficulties with respect to provisions, the injurious 
effect of the summer heats upon their unacclimatised 
constitutions, would have been irresistible temptations 
to a prince of any spirit or energy, inducing him to 
advance as the Eomans retired, to hang upon their 
rear, to cut off their supplies, and to render their 
retreat difficult, if not disastrous. Volagases appears 
to have remained wholly inert and passive. His con- 
duct is only explicable by the consideration of the 
rapid decline which Parthia was now undergoing, of 
the general decay of patriotic spirit, and the sea of 
difficulties into which a monarch was plunged who 
had to retreat before an invader. 

The expedition of Severus was on the whole glorious 
for Eome, and disastrous for Parthia, though the glory 

1 Spartian tells us (Sev. Imp. of Severus offered to take Hatra if 
§ 16) that Ctesiphon was taken at 550 European troops were placed 
the beginning of winter (' hiemali at his disposal. The reply of 
prope tempore '). Herodian places , Severus was, ' Whence am I to get 
the siege of Hatra at the time of such a number of soldiers ? ' 

the great heats (iii. 28). 3 Dio Cass. lxxv. 13. 

2 Dio says that one of the officers 


of the victor was tarnished at the close by his failure 
before Hatra. It cost Parthia a second province. The 
Eoman emperor not only recovered his previous posi- 
tion in Mesopotamia, but overstepping the Tigris, esta- 
blished the Eoman dominion firmly in the fertile tract 
between that stream and the Zairros mountain-range. 
The title of ' Adiabenicus ' became no empty boast. 
Adiabene, or the tract between the Zab rivers — pro- 
bably including at this time the entire low region at 
the foot of Zagros from the eastern Khabour on the 
north to the Adhem towards the south—passed under 
the dominion of Home, the monarch of the country, 
hitherto a Parthian vassal, becoming her tributary. 1 
Thus the imperial standards were planted permanently 
at a distance less than a degree from the Parthian 
capital, which, with the great cities of Seleucia and 
Babylon in its neighbourhood, was exposed to be cap- 
tured almost at any moment by a sudden and rapid 

Volagases survived his defeat by Severus about ten 
or eleven years. For this space Parthian history is 
once more a blank, our authorities containing no notice 
that directly touches Parthia during the period in 
question. The stay of Severus in the East 2 during 
the years a.d. 200 and 201, would seem to indicate 
that the condition of the Oriental provinces was un- 
settled and required the presence of the Imperator. 
But we hear of no effort made by Parthia at this time 
to recover her losses — of no further collision between 
her troops and those of Borne ; and we may assume 

1 Spavtian. Sev. Imp. § 18: — '■ macies despectaretur, in tributarios 
' Adiabenos in tributarios coegit.' ; cwicesmset? (De Cats. § tiO.) 
This authority is superior to that j ~ See Clinton, F. R. vol. . pp. 
of Aurelius Victor, who says — j 204-208. 
'Adiabena quoque, ni terrarum 


therefore that peace was preserved, and that the Par- 
thian monarch acquiesced, however unwillingly, in the 
curtailment of his territory. Probably internal, no 
less than external, difficulties pressed upon him. The 
diminution of Parthian prestige which had been brought 
about by the successive victories of Trajan, Avidius 
Cassius, and Severus must have loosened the ties 
which bound to Parthia the several vassal kingdoms. 
Her suzerainty had been accepted as that of the 
Asiatic nation most competent to make head against 
European intruders, and secure the native races in 
continued independence of a wholly alien power. 1 It 
may well have appeared at this time to the various 
vassal states that the Parthian vigour had become effete, 
that the qualities which had advanced the race to the 
leadership of Western Asia were gone, and that unless 
some new power could be raised up to act energetically 
against Eome, the West would obtain complete domi- 
nion over the East, and Asia be absorbed into Europe. 
Thoughts of this kind, fermenting among the subject 
populations, would produce a general debility, a want 
both of power and of inclination to make any com- 
bined effort, a desire to wait until an opportunity of 
acting with effect should offer. Hence probably the 
deadness and apathy which characterise this period, 
and which seem at first sight so astonishing. Distrust 
of their actual leader paralysed the nations of Western 
Asia, and they did not as yet see their way clearly 
towards placing themselves under any other guidance. 
Volagases IV. reigned till a.d. 208-9, dying thus 
about two years before his great adversary, who ex- 
pired 2 at York, February 4, a.d. 211. 

1 See above, p. 42. | - Clinton, F. It. vol. i. p. 218. 

348 Tin: sixth monarchy. [Cn. xxi. 


Struggle between the two Sons of Volagases IV, Volar/ rises V. and Arta- 
banus, Continued Sovereignty of both Princes, Ambition of Caracallus. 
His Proceedings in the East. His Resolve to quarrel with Tarthia. 
First Proposal made by him to Artabanus. Perplexity of Artabanus. 
Caracallus invades Parthia. His Successes, and Death. Macrinus, 
defeated by Artabanus, consents to Terms of Peace. Iievolt of the 
Persians wider Arta.ver.res. Prolonged Struggle. Death of Artabanus, 
and Downfall of the Parthian Empire. 

TeAeuTaTos yeyovev 6 'ApTajSavos. — Dio Cass. lxxx. 3. 

Ox the death of Volagases IV., the Parthian crown 
was disputed between his two sons, Artabanus and 
Volagases. According to the classical writers, the 
contest resulted in favour of the former, whom they 
regard as undisputed sovereign of the Parthians, at 
any rate from the year a.d. 21 G. 1 It appears, how- 
ever, from the Parthian coins, that both the brothers 
claimed and exercised sovereignty during the entire 
term of seventeen or eighteen years which intervened 
between the death of Volagases IV. and the revolt of 
the Persians. 2 Artabanus must beyond all doubt have 
acquired the sole rule in the western portions of the 
empire, since (from a.d. 216 to a.d. 226) he was the 
only monarch known to the Eomans. But Volagases 
may at the same time have been recognised in the 

1 The negotiations between Cara- J this year. (See Clinton, F. P. 
callus and Artabanus, which Hero- | vol. i. p. 224.) 
dian describes (iv. 18-20), must I 2 See Lindsay, History and Coin- 
liave taken place in the course of j age, pp. 113, 11*4. 



more eastern provinces, and may have maintained 
himself in power in those remote regions without 
interfering with his brother's dominion in the West. 
Still this division of the empire must naturally have 
tended to weaken it ; and the position of Volagases 
has to be taken into account in estimating the diffi- 
culties under which the last monarch of the Arsacid 
series found himself placed — difficulties, to which, after 
a struggle, lie was at last forced to succumb. Domestic 
dissension, Avars with a powerful neighbour (Rome), 
and internal disaffection and rebellion formed a com- 
bination, against which the last Parthian monarch, 
albeit a man of considerable energy, strove in vain. 
But lie strove bravely ; and the closing scenes of the 
empire, in which he bore the chief part, are not un- 
worthy of its best and palmiest days. 

An actual civil war appears to have raged between 
the two brothers for some years. Caracallus, who in 
a.d. 211 succeeded his father, Severus, as Emperor 
of Rome, congratulated the Senate in a.d. 212 on the 
strife still going on in Parthia, which could not fail 
(he said) to inflict serious injury on that hostile state. 1 
The balance of advantage seems at first to have in- 
clined towards Volagases, whom Caracallus acknow- 
ledged as monarch of Parthia 2 in the year a.d. 215. 
But soon after this the fortune of war must have 
turned ; for subsequently to the year a.d. 215, we hear 
nothing more of Volagases, but find Caracallus negotiat- 
ing with Artabanus instead, and treating with him as 
undisputed monarch of the entire Parthian empire.' 5 

1 Dio Cass, lxxvii. 12. 

2 Ibid, lxxvii. 19 and 21. The 

Tiap%c of the latter chapter must, 
it would seem, be the OvoXuyaiaur 

of the former. 

3 Herodian. 1. s. c. 
lxxviii. 1. 

Dio Cass. 


That this was not his real position, appears from 
the coins ; but the classical evidence may be accepted 
as showing that from the year a.d. 216, Volagases 
ceased to have much power, sinking from the rank 
of a rival monarch into that of a mere pretender, who 
may have caused some trouble to the established sove- 
reign, but did not inspire serious alarm. 

Artabanus, having succeeded in reducing his brother 
to this condition, and obtained a general acknowledg- 
ment of his claims, found himself almost immediately 
in circumstances of much difficulty. From the moment 
of his accession, Caracallus had exhibited an inordinate 
ambition ; and this ambition had early taken the shape 
of a special desire for the glory of Oriental conquests. 
The weak and dissolute son of Severus fancied himself, 
and called himself, a second Alexander ; l and thus he 
was in honour bound to imitate that hero's marvellous 
exploits. The extension of the Eoman territory towards 
the East became very soon his great object, and he 
shrank from no steps however base and dishonourable, 
which promised to conduce towards the accomplish- 
ment of his wishes. As early as a.d. 212 he summoned 
Abgarus, the tributary king of Osrhoene, into his pre- 
sence, and when he unsuspectingly complied, seized 
him, threw him into prison, and declaring his terri- 
tories forfeited, reduced them into the form of a Eoman 
province. 2 Successful in this bold proceeding, he at- 
tempted to deal with Armenia in the same way ; but, 
though the monarch fell foolishly into the trap set for 
him, the nation was not so easily managed. The Arme- 
nians flew to arms on learning the imprisonment of their 

1 Dio Cass, lxxvii. 22 ; Herodian. I ~ Dio Cass, lxxvii. 12 (Compare 
iv. 13 ; Spanbeim, De Urn KumismA Gibbon, vol. i. p. 343; ^Smith's 
Diss. xii. : edition.) 


king and royal family ; ! and when, three years after- 
wards (a.d. 215), Caracallns sent a Kouian army under 
Theocritus, one of his favourites, to chastise them, 
they inflicted a severe defeat on their assailant. 2 But 
the desire of Caracallns to effect Oriental conquests 
was increased, rather than diminished, by this occur- 
rence. He had sought a quarrel with Parthia as early 
as a.d. 214, when lie demanded of Volagases the sur- 
render of two refugees of distinction." The rupture, 
which he courted, was deferred by the discreditable 
compliance of the Great King with his requisition. 4 
Volagases surrendered the two unfortunates ; and the 
Soman Emperor was compelled to declare himself 
satisfied with the concession. But a year had not 
elapsed before he had devised a new plan of attack and 
proceeded to put it in execution. 

Volagases V. was about this time compelled to yield 
the western capital to his brother ; and Artabanus IV. 
became the representative of Parthian power in the 
eyes of the Eomans. Caracallus in the summer of a.d. 
215, having transferred his residence from Nicomedia 
to Antioch, sent ambassadors from the last-named 
place to Artabanus, who were to present the Parthian 
monarch with presents of unusual magnificence, 5 and 
to make him an unheard-of proposition. 'The Roman 
Emperor,' said the despatch with which they were in- 
trusted, ' could not fitly wed the daughter of a subject 
or accept the position of son-in-law to a private per- 
son. No one could be a suitable wife to him who was 

1 Dio Cass, l.s.c. 10). 

2 Ibid, lxxvii. 21. * Ibid, lxxvii. 21. 

3 These "were a certain Tiridates, 5 Ilerodian. iv. 18: — n^Tra ce 
who seems to have been an Arme- Trfjtafitiav Kai ctipa -Kaai\^ v\r\q 
man prince, and a Cvnic philosopher, re TroXvreXovg Kai rs\vi]G iroiic- 
named Antiochus (Dio Cass, lxxvii. i\tig. 


not a princess. He therefore asked the Parthian 
monarch for the hand of his daughter. Rome and 
Parthia divided between them the sovereignty of the 
world ; united, as they would be by this marriage, no 
longer recognising any boundary as separating them, 
they would constitute a power that could not but be 
irresistible. It would be easy for them to reduce 
under their sway all the barbarous races on the skirts 
of their empires, and to hold them in subjection by a 
flexible s} 7 stem of administration and government. 
The Eoman infantry was the best in the world, and in 
steady hand-to-hand fighting must be allowed to be 
unrivalled. The Parthians surpassed all nations in the 
number of their cavalry and in the excellency of their 
archers. If these advantages, instead of being sepa- 
rated, were combined, and the various elements on 
which success in war depends were thus brought into 
harmonious union, there could be no difficulty in esta- 
blishing and maintaining a universal monarchy. Were 
that done, the Parthian spices and rare stuffs, as also 
the Eoman metals and manufactures, would no longer 
need to be imported secretly and in small quantities 
by merchants, but, as the two countries would form 
together but one nation and one state, there would be a 
free interchange among all the citizens of their various 
products and commodities.' * 

The recital of this despatch threw the Parthian 
monarch into extreme perplexity. He did not believe 
that the proposals made to him were serious, or in- 
tended to have an honourable issue. The project 
broached appeared to him altogether extravagant, and 
such as no one in his senses could entertain for a 

1 Herodian. iv. 18. 


moment. Yet lie was anxious not to offend the master 
of two-and-thirty legions, 1 nor even to give him a 
pretext for a rupture of amicable relations. Accord- 
ingly he temporised, contenting himself with setting 
forth some objections to the request of Caracallus, and 
asking to be excused compliance with it. 2 ' Such a 
union, as Caracallus proposed, could scarcely,' he said, 
4 prove a happy one. The wife and husband, differing 
in language, habits, and mode of life, could not but 
become estranged from one another. There was no 
lack of patricians at Borne, possessing daughters with 
whom the emperor might wed as suitably as the 
Parthian kings did with the females of their own royal 
house. It was not fit that either family should sully 
its blood by mixture with the other.' 

There is some doubt whether Caracallus construed 
this response as an absolute refusal, and thereupon 
undertook his expedition, or whether he regarded it 
as inviting further negotiation, and sent a second 
embassy, whose arguments and persuasions induced 
Artabanus to consent to the proposed alliance. The 
contemporary historian, Dio, states positively that Arta- 
banus refused to give his daughter to the Eoman 
monarch, and that Caracallus undertook his expedition 
to avenge this insult ; 3 but Herodian, another con- 
temporary, declares exactly the reverse. According 
to him, the Eoman Emperor, on receiving the reply of 
Artabanus, sent a new embassy to urge his suit, and to 
protest with oaths that he was in earnest and had the 
most friendly intentions. Artabanus upon this yielded, 
addressed Caracallus as his son-in-law, and invited him 

1 See Dio Cass. lv. 23, 24. j ira pnrilTo. (Herodian. iv. 19.) 

2 Tu piv -npixtTa Toiavra txio-iWiovj | z Dio Cass, lxviii. 1. 

A A 



[Oh. XXI. 

to come and fetch home his bride. Herodian de- 
scribes with much minuteness, and with a good deal of 
picturesque effect, the stately march of the Imperial 
prince through the Parthian territory, the magnificent 
welcome which he received, and the peaceful meeting 
of the two kings in the plain before Ctesiphon, which 
was suddenly interrupted by the meditated treason of 
the crafty Eoman. Taken at disadvantage, the Par- 
thian monarch with difficulty escaped, while his soldiers 
and other subjects, incapable of making any resist- 
ance, were slaughtered like sheep by their assailants, 
who then plundered and ravaged the Parthian terri- 
tory at their will, and returned laden with spoil into 
Mesopotamia. 1 In general, Dio is a more trustworthy 

1 Herodian. iv. 20. The full pas- 
sage in Herodian is as follows : — 
' But when Antoninus urged his 
request, and added fresh gifts and 
oaths in confirmation of his serious 
meaning and real friendliness, the 
Barbarian yielded, and promised to 
give him his daughter, and ad- 
dressed him as his future son-in- 
law. Now, when this was noised 
abroad, the Parthians made ready 
to receive the Roman monarch, and 
■were transported with joy at the 
prospect of an eternal peace. An- 
toninus thereupon crossed the rivers 
without hindrance, and entered 
Parthia, just as if it were his own 
land. Everywhere along his route 
the people greeted him with sacri- 
fices, and dressing their altars with 
garlands, offered upon them all 
manner of spices and incense ; 
whereat he made pretence of being 
vastly pleased. As his journey now 
approached its close, and he drew 
near to the Parthian Court, Arta- 
banus, instead of awaiting his ar- 
rival, went out and met him in the 
spacious plain before the city, w T ith 
intent to entertain his daughter's 
bridegroom and his own son-in-law. 

Meanwhile the whole multitude of 
the barbarians, crowned with freshly 
gathered flowers, and clad in gar- 
ments worked with gold and vari- 
ously dyed f were keeping holiday, 
and dancing gracefully to the sound 
of the flute, the pipe, and the drum, 
an amusement wherein they take 
great delight after they have in- 
dulged freely in wine. Now, after 
all the people had come together, 
they got off their horses, hung up 
their quivers and their bows, 
and gave themselves wholly to 
libations and revels. The concourse 
of barbarians was very great, and 
they stood arranged in no order, 
since they did not apprehend any 
danger, but were all endeavouring 
to catch a sight of the bridegroom. 
Suddenly Antoninus gives his men 
the signal to fall on, and massacre 
the barbarians. These, amazed at 
the attack, and finding themselves 
struck and wounded, forthwith took 
to flight. Artabanus was hurried 
away by his guards, and put on a 
horse, whereby he escaped with 
a few followers. The rest of the 
barbarians were cut to pieces, 
since they could not reach their 

Ch.XXL] treacherous attack of caracallus. 


authority than Herodian, and most moderns have there- 
fore preferred his version of the story. 1 But it may be 
questioned whether in this particular case the truth. 
has not been best preserved by the historian on whom 
under ordinary circumstances we place less depend- 
ence. If so disgraceful an outrage as that described 
by Herodian was, indeed, committed by the head of 
the Eoman State on a foreign potentate, Dio, as a great 
State official, would naturally be anxious to gloss it 
over. There are, moreover, internal difficulties in his 
narrative ; 2 and on more than one point of importance 
he contradicts not only Herodian, but also Spartianus. 3 
It is therefore not improbable that Herodian has given 
with most truth the general outline of the expedition 

horses, which, when they dis- 
mounted, they had allowed to graze 
freely over the plain ; nor were 
they able to make use of their legs, 
since these were entangled in the 
long flowing garments which de- 
scended to their heels. Many too 
had come without quivers or bows, 
as they were not wanted at a wed- 
ding. Antoninus, when he had 
made a vast slaughter, and taken a 
multitude of prisoners, and a rich 
booty, moved off without meeting 
any resistance. He allowed his 
soldiers to burn all the cities and 
villages, and to carry away as 
plunder whatever they chose.' No 
doubt this passage contains a good 
deal of rhetoric ; but it describes a 
scene which we can scarcely sup- 
pose to be imaginary. 

1 Ramsay in Smith's Bior/. Diet. 
vol. i. p. 608; Champagny, Les 
Cesars dn Sme. Siecle, vol. i. p. 885, 

2 There is something suspicious 
in the extreme brevity of Dio's 
narrative (lxxviii. 1), and in his 
statement that he has nothing im- 

portant to tell of the war beyond 
the fact that when two soldiers 
were quarreling over a wine-skin, 
Caracallus ordered them to cut it 
in two with their swords, and they 
obeyed him. His account of the 
war in this place does not har- 
monise with his statement in ch. 26, 
that Artabanus was violently angry 
at the treatment which he had re- 
ceived and determined to resent it. 
Again, the price which he allows 
that Macrinus paid for peace (ch. 
27), is altogether exorbitant unless 
it was agreed to as compensation 
for some extraordinary outrage. 

3 Dio says that there was no 
engagement at all between the Par- 
thians and the Romans (lxxviii. 1). 
Spartianus speaks of a battle in 
which Caracallus defeated the 
Satraps of Artabanus {Ant. Cara- 
call. § 6). Dio makes the countries 
invaded Adiabene' and Media. Spar- 
tianus indicates a more southern 
locality by saying that the invading 
army passed through Babylonia. 
(' per Babylonios/ l.s.c.) 

A 2 


of Caracallus, though, with that love of effect which 
characterises him, he may have unduly embellished the 

The advance of Caracallus was, if Spartianus is to be 
believed, through Babylonia. 1 The return may have 
been (as Dio seems to indicate that it was 2 ) by the 
way of the Tigris, through Adiabene and Upper Meso- 
potamia. It was doubtless on the return that Cara- 
callus committed a second and wholly wanton outrage 
upon the feelings of his adversary, by violating the 
sanctity of the Parthian royal sepulchres, and dis- 
persing their contents to the four winds. These tombs 
were situated at Arbela, in Adiabene, a place which 
seems to have been always regarded as in some sort a 
City of the Dead. 3 The useless insult and impiety were 
worthy of one who, like Caracallus, was ' equally de- 
void of judgment and humanity,' and who has been 
pronounced by the most unimpassioned of historians 
to have been ' the common enemy of mankind.' 4 A 
severe reckoning was afterwards exacted for the indig- 
nity, which was felt by the Parthians with all the 
keenness wherewith Orientals are wont to regard any 
infringement of the sanctity of the grave. 

Caracallus appears to have passed the winter at 
Edessa, amusing himself with hunting and charioteer- 
ing after the fatigues of his campaign. 5 In the spring 

1 Spartianus says, 'per Cadmios \ (See the Journal of As. Society for 
et Babylonios ' {Ant. Caracall. § G) ; i 1805, p. 195, note 17 .) Rabbinical 
but this is impossible, since the ' tradition placed there the tomb of 
Cadusii lay upon the Caspian. j Seth. (Schindler's Pentaylott, col. 

2 Dio Cass, lxxviii. 1. The | 144.) 

mention of Arbela indicates this | 4 See Gibbon, vol. i. p. 272 
route. ! (Smith's edition). Both the phrases 

3 Assyrian and Persian monarchs quoted are used by this writer, 
constantly conveyed to Arbela great ° Herodian. iv. 21 j Spartian. 
criminals to be" executed there. ; Ant. Car. § C. 


he threatened another advance into Parthian territory, 
and threw the Medes and Parthians into great alarm. 1 
He had not, however, the opportunity of renewing his 
attack. On April 8, a.d. 217, having quitted Edessa 
with a small retinue for the purpose of visiting a famous 
temple of the Moon-God nearCarrhae, he was surprised 
and murdered on the way by Julius Martialis, one of his 
guards.' 2 His successor, Macrinus, though a Praetorian 
prefect, was no soldier, and would willingly have re- r 
tired at once from the war. But the passions of the 
Parthians had been roused. Artabanus possessed the 
energy and spirit which most of the recent monarchs 
had lacked ; and though defeated when taken at dis- 
advantage, and unable for some months to obtain any 
revenge, had employed the winter in the collection of a 
vast army, and was determined to exact a heavy retri- 
bution for the treacherous massacre of Ctesiphon and the 
wanton impiety of Arbela. He had already taken the 
field and conducted his troops to the neighbourhood of 
the Eoman frontier when Caracallus lost his life. Ma- 
crinus was scarcely acknowledged emperor when he 
found that the Parthians were close at hand, that the 
frontier was crossed, and that unless a treaty could be 
concluded he must risk a battle. 3 

Under these circumstances the unwarlike emperor 
hurriedly sent ambassadors to the Parthian camp, with 
an offer to restore all the prisoners made in the late 
campaign as the price of peace. Artabanus unhesita- 
tingly rejected the overture, but at the same time in- 
formed his adversary of the terms on which he was 
willing to treat. Macrinus, he said, must not only re- 

1 Dio Cass, lxxviii. 3. viii. 11. 

2 Ibid, lxxviii. 5; Herodian. iv. 3 Herodian. iv. 27; Dio Cass. 

24; Spart. 1.8. c; Eutrop. Brev. lxxviii. 2(3. 


store the prisouers, but must also consent to rebuild all 
the towns and castles which Caracallus had laid in ruins, 
must make compensation for the injury done to the 
tombs of the kings, and further must cede Mesopota- 
mia to the Parthians. 1 It was impossible for a Eoman 
Emperor to consent to such demands without first try- 
ing the fortune of war, and Macrinus accordingly made 
up his mind to fight a battle. The Parthian prince 
had by this time advanced as far as Nisibis, and it 
was in the neighbourhood of that city that the great 
struggle took place. 

The battle of Nisibis, which terminated the long con- 
test between Eome and Parthia, was the fiercest and 
best-contested which was ever fought between the rival 
powers. It lasted for the space of three days. 2 The 
army of Artabanus was numerous and well-appointed : 
like almost every Parthian force, it was strong in 
cavalry and archers ; and it had moreover a novel 
addition of considerable importance, consisting of a 
corps of picked soldiers, clad in complete armour, and 
carrying long spears or lances, who were mounted on 
camels. 3 The Eoman legionaries were supported by 
numerous light- armed troops, and a powerful body of 
Mauritanian cavalry. 4 According to Dio, the first en- 
gagement was brought on accidentally by a contest 
which arose among the soldiers for the possession of a 
watering-place. 5 Herodian tells us that it commenced 
with a fierce assault of the Parthian cavalry, who 
charged the Eomans with loud shouts, and poured 
into their ranks flight after flight of arrows. A long 

1 Dio Cass, lxxviii. 2G. 1 latcd to be intelligible. 

2 I follow here the narrative of \ 3 Herodian. iv. 28. 
Herodian (iv. 30), since the passage j 4 Ibid. iv. 30 (p. 172). 
of Dio which contained an account 5 Dio Cass, lxxviii. 2(5. 
of the struggle is too much muti- 


struggle followed. The Romans suffered greatly from 
the bows of the horse-archers, and from the lances of 
the corps mounted on camels ; and though, when they 
could reach their enemy, they had always the supe- 
riority in close combat, yet after a while their losses 
from the cavalry and camels forced them to retreat. 
As they retired they strewed the ground with spiked 
balls and other contrivances for injuring the feet of 
animals ; and this stratagem was so far successful that 
the pursuers soon found themselves in difficulties, and 
the armies respectively retired, without any decisive 
result, to their camps. 

The next day there was again a combat from morn- 
ing to night, of which we have no description, but 
which equally terminated without any clear advantage 
to either side. 1 The ficdit was then renewed for the 
third time on the third day, with the difference that 
the Parthians now directed all their efforts towards 
surrounding the enemy, and thus capturing their en- 
tire force. 2 As they greatly outnumbered the Romans, 
these last found themselves compelled to extend their 
line unduly, in order to meet the Parthian tactics ; and 
the weakness of the extended line seems to have given 
the Parthians an opportunity of throwing it into con- 
fusion, and thus causing the Roman defeat. 3 Macrinus 
took to flight among the first ; and his hasty retreat dis- 
couraged his troops, 4 who soon afterwards acknow- 
ledged themselves beaten, and retired within the lines 
of their camp. Both armies had suffered severely. 

1 Herodian. iv. 30 (p. 173). | garded the Romans as vanquished. 

' 2 So Herodian, l.s.c. 4 See the fragment of Dio, which 

3 Herodian makes the third day's (as restored by Fabricius) reads 

battle terminate, like those of the thus: — r(j rod Maicpivov fvyy uLcijii- 

two [preceding days, without deci- ; actftevui r'lTTtfiTjcav. , 

sive result; but IJio evidently re- 



[Oh. XXL 

Herod i an describes the lieaps of dead as piled to such 
a height that the manoeuvres of the troops were im- 
peded by them, and at last the two contending hosts 
con Id scarcely see one another ! Both armies, there- 
fore, desired peace. 1 The soldiers of Macrinus, who 
had never had much confidence in their leader, were 
demoralised by ill success, and showed themselves in- 
clined to throw off the restraints of discipline. Those of 
Artabanus, a militia rather than a standing force, were 
unaccustomed to sustained efforts ; and having been 
now for some months in the field, had grown weary, 
and wished to return home. Macrinus under these 
circumstances re-opened negotiations with his adver- 
sary. He was prepared to concede something more 
than he had proposed originally, and he had reason 
to believe that the Parthian monarch, having found the 
Roman resistance so stubborn, would be content to in- 
sist on less. The event justified his expectations. Ar- 
tabanus relinquished his demand for the cession of 
Mesopotamia, and accepted a pecuniary compensation 
for his wrongs. Besides restoring the captives and the 
booty carried off by Caracallus in his raid, Macrinus 
had to pay a sum exceeding a million and a half of our 
money. Borne thus concluded her transactions with 
Parthia, after nearly three centuries of struggle, by 
ignominiously purchasing a peace. 2 

It might have been expected that the glory of this 
achievement would have brought the troubles of Ar- 
tabanus to a close ; and if they did not cause the pre- 
tender who still disputed his possession of the throne 
to submit, would at any rate have put an end to 

1 See Dio Cass, lxxviii. 27. 
~ The ignominy was cloaked 
under the transparent iiction that 

the payment was by way of presents 
to the Parthian monarch, and his 
lords (Dio Cass, l.s.c). 


an)' disaffection on the part of the subject nations that 
the previous ill-success of Parthia in her Eoman wars 
might have provoked. But in the histories of nations 
and empires we constantly find that noble and gallant 
efforts to retrieve disaster and prevent the ruin conse- 
quent upon it come too late. When matters have 
gathered to a head, when steps that commit important 
persons have been taken, when classes or races have 
been encouraged to cherish hopes, when plans have 
been formed and advanced to a certain point, the 
course of action that has been contemplated and 
arranged for cannot suddenly be given up. The 
cause of discontent is removed, but the effects remain. 
Affections have been alienated, and the alienation still 
continues. A certain additional resentment is even felt 
at the tardy repentance, or revival, which seems to 
cheat the discontented of that general sympathy 
whereof without it they would have been secure. In 
default of their original grievance, it is easy for them 
to discover minor ones, to exaggerate these into im- 
portance, and to find in them a sufficient reason for 
persistence in the intended course. Hence revolutions 
often take place just when the necessity for them seems 
to be past, and kingdoms perish at a time when they 
have begun to show themselves deserving of a longer 
term of life. 

It is impossible at the present day to form any trust- 
worthy estimate of the real value of those grounds of 
complaint which the Persians, in common doubtless 
with other subject races, thought that they had against 
the Parthian rule. We can well understand that the 
supremacy of any dominant race is irksome to the 
aliens who have to submit to it ; but such information 
as we possess fails to show us either anything seriously 

3G2 the sixth monarchy. [Cn. xxi. 

oppressive in the general system of the Parthian govern- 
ment, or any special grievance whereof the Persians 
had to complain. The Parthians were tolerant ; they 
did not interfere with the religions prejudices of their 
subjects, or attempt to enforce uniformity of creed or 
worship. Their military system did not press over- 
heavily on the subject peoples, nor is there any reason 
to believe that the scale of their taxation was excessive. 
Such tyranny as is charged upon certain Parthian mo- 
narchs is not of a kind that would have been sensibly 
felt by the conquered nations, for it was exercised upon 
none who were not Parthians. If we endeavour to form 
a distinct notion of the grievances under which the Per- 
sians suffered, they seem to have amounted to no more 
than this : 1. That high offices, whether military or 
civil, were for the most part confined to those of Par- 
thian blood, and not thrown open to Parthian subjects 
generally ; 2. That the priests of the Persian religion 
were not held in any special honour, 1 but placed 
merely on a par witli the religious ministers of the 
other subject races ; 3. That no advantage in any 
respect was allowed to the Persians over the rest of 
the conquered peoples, notwithstanding that they had 
for so many years exercised supremacy over Western 
Asia, and given to the list of Asiatic worthies such 
names as those of Cyrus and Darius Hystaspis. It 
must, however, be confessed that the account which 
has come down to us of the times in question is ex- 
ceedingly meagre and incomplete ; that we cannot say 
whether the Persians had not also other grounds of 
complaint besides those that are known to us ; and, 
more especially, that we have no means of determining 

Agathias, ii. 26. 



what the actual pressure of the grievances complained 
of was, or whether it did not reach to that degree of 
severity which moderns mostly hold to justify disaf- 
fection and rebellion. On the whole, perhaps, our 
conclusion must be, that the best justification of the 
outbreak is to be found in its success. The Parthians 
had no right to their position but such as arose out 
of the law of the stronger — 

The ancient rule, the good old plan, 
That those shall take who have the power, 
And those shall keep who can — 

when the time came that they had lost this pre- 
eminence, superiority in strength having passed from 
them to a nation hitherto counted among their subjects, 
it was natural and right that the seat of authority 
should shift with the shift in the balance of power, and 
that the leadership of the Persians should be once 
more recognised. 

If the motives which actuated the nation of the 
Persians in rising against their masters are thus obscure 
and difficult to be estimated, still less can we form any 
decided judgment upon those which caused their leader, 
Artaxerxes, to attempt his perilous enterprise. Could 
we trust implicitly the statement of Agathias, that 
Artaxerxes was himself a Magus, initiated in the 
deepest mysteries of the Order, 1 we should have 
grounds for considering that religious zeal was, at any 
rate, a leading motive of his conduct. It is certain 
that among the principal changes consequent upon his 
success was a religious revolution — the substitution for 
Parthian tolerance of all faiths and worships, of a 
rigidly enforced uniformity in religion, the establish- 

1 AfratbirtS, ii. 25. ''H.v cs yt ovrug ry fiayucy kutoxoc; 'upovpyia, not 
cii)TuiH>yi,i; nil' u—tij>piiTu>i\ 



[Cn. XXI. 

ment of the Magi in power, and the bloody persecution 
of all such as declined obedience to the precepts of 
Zoroaster. 1 But the conjecture has been made, and 
cannot be refuted, that the proceedings of Artaxerxes 
in this matter should be ascribed to policy rather than 
to bigotry, 2 and in that case we could not regard him 
as originally inspired by a religious sentiment. Perhaps 
it is best to suppose that, like most founders of 
empires, he was mainly prompted by ambition ; that 
he saw in the distracted state of Parthia and in the 
awakening of hope among the subject races, an occasion 
of which he determined to avail himself as far as he 
could, and that he Avas gradually led on to enlarge his 
views and to effect the great revolution, which he 
brought about, by the force of circumstances, the 
wishes of others, and the occurrence of opportunities 
which at first he neither foresaw nor desired. 

It has been observed, 3 that Parthia was, during the 
whole reign of Artaxerxes, distracted by the claims of 
a pretender, Volagases V. According to Moses of 
Chorene, two branches of the Arsacid family, both of 
them settled in Bactria, were at feud with the reigning 
prince ; and these offended relatives carried their 
enmity to such a length as to consider submission to a 
foreigner a less evil than subjection to the de facto 
head of their house. 4 The success of Artabanus in 
the war against Eome had no effect upon his domestic 
foes ; and Artaxerxes undoubtedly knew that, if he 
raised the standard of revolt, he might count on a 
certain amount of support from discontented Arsacids 

1 See Malcolm's History of Per- 
sia, vol. i. pp. 94, 95. Compare 
(ribbon, Decline and Fall, vol. i. 
pp. 322, 323, Smith's edition. 

2 Malcolm, p. 95. 

3 Supra, pp. 348-350. 

4 Mos. Clioren. Hist. Armcn. ii. 




and their followers. But his main reliance must have 
been on the Persians. The Persians had, in the 
original arrangements of the Parthian empire, been 
treated with a certain amount of favour. They had 
been allowed to retain their native monarchs, 1 a con- 
cession which naturally involved the continuance of 
the nation's laws, customs, and traditions. Their re- 
ligion had not been persecuted, and had even in the 
early times attracted a considerable amount of Court 
favour. 2 But it would seem that latterly the privileges 
of the nation had been diminished, while their preju- 
dices were wantonly shocked. The Magi had ceased 
to be regarded as of much account, 3 and, if they still 
formed nominally a portion of the king's council, can 
have had little influence on the conduct of affairs by 
the government. Such a custom as that of burning 
the dead, which seems to have been the rule in the 
later Parthian times, 4 could never have maintained 
its ground, if the opinion of the Magi, or their co- 
religionists, had been considered of much account. 

Encouraged by the dissensions prevailing in the 
Parthian royal house, strong in the knowledge of his 
fellow-countrymen's discontent, and perhaps thinking 
that the losses which Artabanus had sustained in his 
three days' battle against the Komans under Macrinus 
had seriously weakened his military strength, Ar- 
taxerxes, tributary king of Persia under Parthia, 5 

1 Strab. xv. 3, § 24. 

3 See above, ch. vi. p. 86. 

3 Agathias, ii. 25. 

4 Herodian. iv. 80, p. 174. 

5 Herodian (vi. G) says : — 'Apra- 

&p£il<: '» UtpaCov fin atXtvc, ptra 
to Uap^iiaiovi; Ku9e\t~ii> Kai ri/f Kara 
ti)v ai((ro\))i> (ipx^ig 7ra(>a\va(ii ) 

'ApTafiaVOV TUV TTpu'tjlOV KClXoUfltVOV 

tuv p.kyav fiaviXfa Kai Cvai SinCi/pctai 
Xptopn'ov AiceKTtivt. Dio, it is true, 
seems to have called him merely 
' a certain Persian ' ^ApraBp'inQ Tig 
Ufpnr)c) j and later writers indulged 
in various tales as to his low birth. 
(Agathias, ii. 27 ; Gibbon, Decline 
and Fall, vol. i. p. 331 ; Malcolm, 
History of Persia, vol. i. pp. 89, 



[Cn. XXI. 

about a.d. 220, 1 or a little later, took up arms against 
his master, and in a little time succeeded in establish- 
ing the independence of Persia Proper, or the modern 
province of Fars. 2 Artabanus is said to have taken 
no steps at first to crush the rebellion, or to re-establish 
his authority over his revolted vassal. 3 Thus the 
Persian monarch, finding himself unmolested, was free 
to enlarge his plans, and having originally, as is pro- 
bable, designed only the liberation of his own people, 
began to contemplate conquests. Turning his arms 
eastwards against Carmania (Kerman), he easily re- 
duced that scantily-peopled tract under his dominion, 
after which he made war towards the north, and 
added to his kingdom some of the outlying regions of 
Media. Artabanus now at length resolved to bestir 
himself, and collecting his forces, took the field in 
person. Invading Persia Proper, he engaged in a 
desperate struggle with his rival. Three great battles 
were fought between the contending powers. 4 In the 

90.) But these stories are probably 
myths, which clustered about the 
founder of the second Persian king- 
dom as so many similar ones did 
about the founder of the first, 
Cyrus. (Herod, i. 107-128.) On 
the abundance of such myths in 
connection with the person of Ar- 
taxerxes, see Moses of Chorene 
{Hist. Arm. ii. 07), who speaks of 
' the dream of desire, and the judg- 
ment, and the fire that sprang from 
Sassan, the imprisoned flock and 
the white eye, the predictions of 
the soothsayers, and all that follows 
them — Artaxerxes' incest and his 
murders, the wild eloquence of the 
Magian damsel owing to the calf, 
&C. ; the she-goat, which, protected 
by the Eagle, suckled the boy ; the 
information of the Crow, and the 

Lion's remis3 defence, the service 
rendered by the Wolf, and the 
strange trial of strength, and all the 
other silly fables which are related 
in the books, but which I do not 
intend to repeat.' 

1 The exact date of the rebellion 
of Artaxerxes is unknown. Roman 
writers only tell us that he con- 
quered Artabanus and began to 
threaten Rome in a.d. 220. The 
coins confirm this, but add nothing. 
Abulpharagius, the Arabian writer, 
says that Artaxerxes founded the 
New Persian kingdom in the third 
year of Alexander Severus, or a.d. 
224 (p. 80). 

2 Malcolm, History of Persia, 
vol. i. p. 91. 

3 Ibid. 

4 Dio Cass. Ixxx. 3. 


last, which took place in the plain of Hormuz, 1 be- 
tween Bebahan and Sinister, on the course of the 
Jerahi river, Artabanns was, after a desperate conflict, 
completely defeated, 2 and not only defeated but slain 
(a.d. 226). 

The victory of Hormuz did not, however, absolutely 
decide the contest, or determine at once that the Par- 
thian empire should fall, and the new Persian kingdom 
succeed into its place. Artabanns had left sons ; 3 and 
there were not wanting those among the feudatories of 
the empire, and even among the neighbouring poten- 
tates, who were well inclined to embrace their cause. 
A certain Artavasdes seems to have claimed the throne, 
and to have been accepted as king, at least by a 
portion of the Parthians, in the year following the 
death of Artabanus (a.d. 227), when he certainly issued 
coins. 4 The Armenian monarch, who had been set on 
his throne by Artabanus, and was uncle to the young 
princes, 5 was especially anxious to maintain the Arsacids 
in power ; he gave them a refuge in Armenia, 6 col- 
lected an army on their behalf, and engaging Arta- 
xerxes, is even said to have defeated him in a battle. 7 
But his efforts, and those of Artavasdes, were unavailing. 
The arms of Artaxerxes in the end everywhere prevailed. 

1 So Malcolm, following Persian ! as inmN (Artabazu) or Artavas- 
autborities. {History of Persia, des. Some coins of this king- bear 
Ls.c.) the date ha*, or a.d. 227. 

2 Dio Cass, l.s.c. ; Herodian. vi. j 5 Procopiua tie JEdific. Justinian. 
G, 7; Agathias, ii. 25, &c. ! iii. 1. The native historians give 

3 Dio Cass, l.s.c. this prince the name of Chosroes, 

4 A coin of Artavasdes has been j but do not acknowledge his close 
figured and described by Mr. Taylor ; relationship to Artabanus. (See 
in the Numismatic Chronicle for j Mos. Chor. Hist. Arm. ii. G4-70.) 
1871, p. 220, and pi. ii. Xo. 7. The \ 6 Dio Cass, l.s.c. On the efforts 
same coin is figured also, but very which were made by the Armenian 
poorly, in Lindsay {History and ' king to help Artabanus, see Mos, 
Coinage, pi. iv. No. 95), and is ; Chor. H.A. ii. 08, 70. 

there assigned wrongly to Yolagases 7 Dio Cass, ut supra. Compare 
V. The legeud upon it can be read ; Herodian. vi. 15. 


After a struggle, which cannot have lasted more than 
a few years, the provinces of the old Parthian empire 
submitted ; the last Arsacid prince fell into the hands 
of the Persian king ; ! and the founder of the new- 
dynasty sought to give legitimacy to his rule by taking 
to wife an Arsacid princess. 2 

Thus perished the great Parthian monarchy after an 
existence of nearly five centuries. Its end must be 
attributed in the main to internal decay, working itself 
out especially in two directions. The Arsacid race, 
with which the idea of the empire was bound up, 3 
instead of clinging together with that close ' union ' 
which is '.strength,' allowed itself to be torn to pieces 
by dissensions, to waste its force in quarrels, and to be 
made a handle of by every foreign invader, or domestic 
rebel, who chose to use its name in order to cloak his 
own selfish projects. The race itself does not seem to 
have become exhausted. Its chiefs, the successive 
occupants of the throne, never sank into mere weak- 
lings or faineants, never shut themselves up in their 
seraglios, or ceased to take a leading part, alike in 
civil broils, and in struggles with foreign rivals. But 
the hold which the race had on the population, native 
and foreign, was gradually weakened by the feuds 
which raged within it, by the profusion' with which 
the sacred blood was shed by those in whose veins it 
ran, and the difficulty of knowing which living member 
of it was its true head, and so entitled to the allegiance 
of those who wished to be faithful Parthian subjects. 
Further, the vigour of the Parthian soldiery must have 
gradually declined, and their superiority over the mass 

1 Mos. Ckor. TLA. ii. 70. vol. i. p. 06, note. 

2 Malcolm, History of Persia, \ 3 See above, p. 220. 


of i lie nations under their dominion have diminished. 
We found reasons for believing that, as early aSA.D. 58, 
Hyrcania succeeded in throwing off the Parthian yoke, 1 
and thus setting an example of successful rebellion to 
the subject peoples. The example may have been fol- 
lowed in cases of which we hear nothing ; for the 
condition of the more remote portions of the empire 
was for the most part unknown to the Eomans. When 
Persia, about A.D. 220, revolted from Artabanus, it 
was no doubt with a conviction that the Parthians 
were no longer the terrible warriors who under Mithri- 
dates I. had driven all the armies of the East before 
them like chaff, or who under Orodes and Phraates IV. 
had gained signal victories over the Eomans. It is 
true that Artabanus had contended not unsuccessfully 
with Macrinus. But the prestige of Parthia was far 
from being re-established by the result of his three 
days' battle. Eome retained as her own, notwithstand- 
ing his success, the old Parthian province of Meso- 
potamia, and was thus, even in the moment of her 
weakness, acknowledged by Parthia to be the stronger. 
The Persians are not likely to have been braver or 
more warlike at the time of their revolt from Arta- 
banus than in the days when they were subjected by 
Mithridates. Any alteration, therefore, in the relative 
strength of the two peoples must be ascribed to Par- 
thian decline, since it cannot have been owing to 
Persian advance and improvement. To conclude, we 
may peril aps allow something to the personal qualities 
of Artaxerxes, who appears to have possessed all the 
merits of the typical Oriental conqueror. Artabanus 

See above, p. 286. 
B B 


was among the most able of tlie later Parthian 
monarchs ; but his antagonist was more than this, 
possessing true military genius. It is quite possible 
that, if the leaders on the two sides had changed 
places, the victory might have rested, not with the 
Persians, but with the Parthians. 



On the Architecture caul Ornamental Art of the Part/nans. 

The modern historian of Architecture observes, 1 when 
lie reaches the period with which we have had to deal 
in this volume, that, with the advent of Alexander 
Oriental architecture disappears, and that its history is 
an absolute blank from the downfall of the Acha3- 
menians in B.C. 331 to the rise of the Sassanians, about 
a.d. 226. The statement made involves a certain 
amount of exaggeration ; but still it expresses, roughly 
and strongly, a curious and important fact. The Par- 
thians were not, in any full or pregnant sense of the 
word, builders. They did not aim at leaving a material 
mark upon the world by means of edifices or other 
great works. They lacked the spirit which had im- 
pelled successively the Assyrians, the Babylonians, and 
the Persians to cover Western Asia with architectural 
monuments, proofs at once of the wealth, and the 
grand ideas, of those who raised them. Parthia, com- 
pared to these pretentious empires, was retiring and 
modest. The monarchs, however rich they may have 
been, affected something of primitive rudeness and 
simplicity in their habits and style of life, their dwell- 
ings and temples, their palaces and tombs. It is dif- 
ficult indeed to draw the line in every case between 
pure Parthian work and Sassanian ; but on the whole 

1 Fergusson, History of Architect}! re, vol. ii. p. 422. 

is b2 


there is, no doubt, reason to believe that the archi- 
tectural remains in Mesopotamia and Persia which 
belong to the period between Alexander and the Arab 
conquest, are mainly the work of the Sassanian or New 
Persian kingdom, and that comparatively few of them 
can be ascribed with confidence to a time anterior to 
a.d. 227. Still a certain number, which have about 
theni indications of greater antiquity than the rest, 
or which belong to sites famous in Parthian rather 
than in Persian times, may reasonably be regarded as 
in all probability structures of the Arsacid period ; and 
from these we may gather at least the leading cha- 
racteristics of the Parthian architecture, its aims and 
resources, its style and general effect, while from other 
remains — scanty indeed, and often mutilated — we may 
obtain a tolerable notion of their sculpture and other 
ornamental art. 

The most imposing remains which seem certainly 
assignable to the Parthian period are those of Hatra, 
or El-Hadhr, visited by Mr. Layard in 1846, and de- 
scribed at length by Mr. Eoss in the ninth volume of the 
' Journal of the Eoyal Geographical Society,' x as well 
as by Mr. Fergusson, in his ' History of Architecture.' 2 
Hatra became known as a place of importance in the 
early part of the second century after Christ. 3 It 
successfully resisted Trajan in A.D. 116, and Severus in 
A.i). 198. 4 It is then described as a large and populous 
city, defended by strong and extensive walls, 5 and con- 

1 See Art. xxii. pp. 4G7-470. I 4 Amm. Marc. xxv. 8. ' Hafcram 

2 Vol. ii. pp. 423-425. I . . . . oppidum, quod diruendum 

3 See Arrian, Fr. 15: "Arpai, , adorti temporibus variis Trajanuset 
iro\ig neratf EvQpdrav icai TiypijTog. ' Severus, principes bellicosi, cum 
Compare I)io Cass, lxviii. 3] ; lxxv. exercitibus pasne deleti sunt.' Hee 
10; Herodian. iii. 1 and 28 ; Arrian, above, pp. 316 and 345. 

Fr. G. 5 Herodian. iii. 28. 

(ii. XXII.] WALL OF HATRA, 373 

taining within it a temple of the Sun, celebrated for 
the greal value of its offerings. 1 It enjoyed its own 
kings at this time,'- who were regarded as of Arabian 
stock, and were among the more important of the 
Parthian tributary monarchs. By the year a.d. 363 
Hatra had gone to ruin, and is then described as ' long 
since deserted.' 3 Its nourishing period thus belongs 
to the space between a.d. 100 and a.d. 300 ; and 
its remains, to which Mr. Fergusson assigns the date 
a.d. 250, must be regarded as probably at least a 
century earlier, and consequently as indicating the 
character of the architecture which prevailed under 
the Later Parthians, and which, if Sassanian improve- 
ments had not obliterated them, we should have found 
upon the site of Ctesiphon. 

The city of Hatra 4 was enclosed by a circular wall 
of great thickness, 5 built of large square-cut stones, 
and strengthened at intervals of about 170 yards by 
square towers or bastions. Its circumference con- 
siderably exceeded three miles. Outside the wall was 
a broad and very deep ditch, and on the further side 
of the ditch was an earthen rampart of considerable 
height and thickness. Two detached forts, situated on 
eminences, commanded the approaches to the place, 
one towards the east, and the other towards the north. 
The wall w r as pierced by four gateways, of which the 
principal one faced the east. 

1 Bio Cass. lxxv. 12. I to Mr. Ainsworth {Geographical 

~ Ilerodirm. iii. 1 and 27. | Journal, vol. xi. pp. 13 et seq. ; 

3 Amm. Marc, l.s.c. 'Hatram. . j Researches in Mesopotamia, vol. ii. 
. . vetus oppidimi in media solitu- | pp. 165 et seqq.), and on others to 
dine positum, olimque desertiim.^ Mr. Fergusson (Hist, of Architec- 

4 In this description I follow ( ture, vol. ii. pp. 42:j-42o). 
especially the account given by Mr. ; r ° The width was a little more 
Ross. ( Geof/raph. Journal, l.s.c.) On [ than ten feet. 

some points I am further indebted 6 Mr. Hoss's plan shows one 



[Ch. XXII. 

The circular space within the walls was divided into 
two portions by a water-course 1 passing across it from 

Plan of Hatra (after 

north to south, and running somewhat east of the centre, 
which thus divided the circle into two unequal parts. 
The eastern portion was left comparatively clear of 
buildings, and seems to have been used mainly as a 
burial-ground ; in the western were the public edifices 
and the more important houses of the inhabitants. Of 
the former by far the most remarkable was one 
which stood nearly in the centre of the city, and which 
has been called by some a palace, by others a temple, 
but which may best be regarded as combining both 

gateway only — viz. the eastern one. 
Mr. Ains worth, however, states that 
there were four. The plan which 
the latter traveller sent with his 
memoir to the Royal Geographical 
Society was, unfortunately, not | 


1 Mr. Ross represents the water- 
course as straight, but Mr. Ains- 
worth says it is tortuous. (Re- 
searches, vol. ii. p. 167.) 

On. XXII.] 


uses. 1 This building stood within a Availed enclosure 
of an oblong square shape, about 800 feet long by 
700 broad/ 2 The wall surrounding it was strength- 
ened with bastions, like the wall around the city. 
The enclosure comprised two courts, an inner and an 

Plan of Palace-Temple at Hatra (after Fergusson and Ross). 

outer. The outer court, which lay towards the east, 
and was first entered, was entirely clear of buildings, 
while the inner court contained two considerable 
edifices. Of these the less important was one which 

1 In the East the Temple was 
commonly, or at any rate fre- 
quently, an adjunct of the palace. 
Two temples formed part of the old 
Assyrian palace at Calah or Nimrud. 
(See Ancient Monarchies, vol. i. 
pp. 319-320, 2nd edition.) A tem- 
ple was included within Sargon's 
palace at Khorsabad (ibid. p. 206). 
Mr. Fergusson regards the grand 

buildings at Persepolis as ' Palace- 

2 These measurements were fur- 
nished to Mr. Fergusson by Mr. 
Layard. {Hist, of Architecture, 
vol. ii. pp. 423-4.) Mr. Ross re- 
garded the enclosure as ' a square 
of 300 good paces ' (query, yards P) 
See the Geograph. Journal, vol. ix 
p. 468. 



[Cn. XXII. 

-lie! died from north to south across the entire in- 
closure, and abutted upon the outer court; this was 
confused in plan, and consisted chiefly of a number of 
small apartments, which have been regarded as guard- 
rooms. 1 The other was a building of greater preten- 
sions. It was composed mainly of seven vaulted halls, all 
of them parallel one to another, and all facing eastward, 
three being of superior and four of inferior size. The 
smaller halls (Nos. L, III, IV., and VI, on the plan) 
were about thirty feet long by twenty wide, and had a 
height of thirty feet ; 2 the larger ones measured ninety 
feet in length, 3 and were from thirty-five to forty 
feet broad, 4 with a height of sixty feet. 5 All were 
upon the same plan. They had semicircular vaulted 
roofs, no windows, and received their light from the 
archway at the east end, which was either left entirely 
open, or perhaps closed with curtains. 

Externally, the eastern facade of the building, which 

was evidently its main front, had for ornament, besides 

the row of seven arches, a series of pillars, or rather 

pilasters, from which the arches sprang, 

some sculptures on the stones composing 

the arches, and one or two emblematic 

figures in the spaces left between the 

pilasters. The sculptures on the stones 

of the arches consisted either of human 

heads, or of representations of a female 

form, apparently floating in air. 6 An emblematic 

1 Ainsworth, Researches, Sec, 
vol. ii. p. 160. At the southern 
extremity of the row of small 
chambers was a hall of some size. 

2 So Mr. Ross. (Geofjraph. Jour- 
nal, l.s.c.) But from the drawing 
it would seem that the estimate is 

3 Mr. Hoss says ' 32 long- paces, 9 
by which he seems to mean i steps.' 

i Mr. Ains worth says '31 yards.' 

4 'Twelve long paces' (Ross). 
I ' Fourteen yards ' (Ainsworth). 

3 Mr. Ross and Mr. Ainsworth 
agree in this estimate. 

G The ' female form floating in 

(i,. XXII.] 


Oi i 

sculpture between the fourth and fifth arch represented 
a griffin with twisted tail, raised about 5 feet above 
the ground- The entire length of -the facade was about 

300 feet. 

The interior of the smaller halls had no ornament ; 
but the larger ones were decorated somewhat elabo- 
rately. Were the side walls were broken by three 
squared pilasters, rising to the commencement of the 
vaulting, and terminated by a quasi-capital of orna- 
mental" work, consisting of a series of ovals, each 
oval containing in its centre a round ball of dark 
stone. Underneath these quasi-capitals, at the distance 
of from two to three feet, ran a cornice, which crossed 
the pilasters, and extended the whole length of the 
apartment, consisting of flowers and half-ovals, each 
oval containing a half-ball of the same dark stone 


Cornice and quasi-capital, Hatra (after Ross). 

as the capitals. Finally, on the pilasters, immediately 
below the cornice, were sculptured commonly either 
two or three human heads, 1 the length of each head 

air ; was confined to the hall marked 
No. II. on the plan. The stones of 
the other arches bore heads both 
male and female, some with ( very 
curious curling bag-wigs.' (Com- i 
pare the bushy wigs on many of I 
the Parthian coins.) 

1 In the Hall marked No. II. on 
the plan, the heads were uniformly 
three, as in the above woodcut. In 

Hall No. V. each pillar bore two 
heads. Hall No. VII. seems to 
have had no pillars. The north 
side is in ruins ; the south is orna- 
mented with a row of eight human- 
headed bulls, standing out from the 
wall as far as their shoulders at a 
distance from the ground of about 
ten feet. (Ross in Geographical 
Journal, vol. ix. p. 469.) 


being about two feet, and the faces representing diverse 
types of humanity, some old and some young, some 
male and some female, some apparently realistic, some 
idealised and more or less grotesque in their accom- 
paniments. The drawing of the heads is said to have 
been full of spirit, and their general effect is pro- 
nounced life-like and striking. 

The seven halls, which have been described, were 
divided into two groups, of three and four respectively, 
by a low fence, which ran from east to west across the 
inner court, from the partition wall separating the 
third and fourth halls to the buildings which divided 
the inner court from the outer. It is probable that 
this division separated the male and female apart- 
ments. The female ornamentation l of the large hall 
(No. II.) belonging to the southern group is perhaps 
an indication of the sex of its inmates ; and another 
sign that these were the female quarters is to be found 
in the direct communication existing between this 
portion of the building and ' the Temple ' (No. VIII.), 
which could not be reached from the male apartments 
except by a long circuit round the building. 

The c Temple ' itself was an apartment of a square 
shape, each side being about forty feet. It was com- 
pletely surrounded by a vaulted passage, into which 
light came from two windows at its south-west and 
north-west corners. The Temple was entered by a 
single doorway, the position of which was directly 
opposite an opening leading into the passage from Hall 
No. II. Above this doorway was a magnificent frieze, 
the character of which is thought to indicate the re- 
ligious purpose of the structure. The interior of the 

1 See above, p. 376, note °. 

Cn. XXII.] 



Temple was without ornamentation, vaulted, and ex- 
cept for the feeble light which entered by the single 

Frieze over Temple doorway, Hatra (alter Ross). 

doorway, dark. On the west side a portal led into the 
passage from the outer air. 

Besides these main apartments, the edifice which we 
are describing contained a certain number of small 
rooms, lying behind the halls, and entered by door- 
ways opening from them. One or two such rooms are 
found behind each of the smaller halls ; and another of 
somewhat larger dimensions lay behind the great hall 
(numbered VII. in the plan), forming the extreme 
north-western corner of the building. These rooms 
were vaulted and had no windows, receiving their only 
light from the small doorways by which they were 

It is believed that the entire edifice, or at any rate 
the greater portion of it, had an upper story; Traces 
of such a structure appear over the halls numbered 
I. and VI. ; and it is thought that the story extended 
over the entire range of halls. 

One traveller, 1 on con- 

1 Ainsworth, Researches, vol. ii. j to the upper rooms at the southern 
p. 105. Mr. Ross believed that he end of the building. (Geograph. 
found traces of a staircase leading I Journal, vol. ix. p. 470.) 



[Cit. XXII. 

jectural grounds, even assigns to the building an eleva- 
tion of three stories, and ventures to restore the second 
and third in the mode represented in the subjoined 
woodcut. According to this author the upper portion 
of the edifice resembled in many respects the great 
palace of the Sassanian monarchs, of which splendid 

Restoration of the Hatra Palace-Temple (after Ainsworth). 

remains still exist on the site of Ctesiphon, where 
they are known as the Takht-i-Khuzroo, or Palace of 
Chosroes. That palace was, however, on a very dif- 
ferent plan from the Hatra one, comprising as it did 
one hall only, but of a size vastly superior to any of 
those at Hatra, and two wings, one on either side of the 
hall, made up of dwelling and sleeping apartments. 1 
The few windows which exist at Hatra are oblon^ 


square in shape/ as in general are the doorways con- 
necting one apartment with another. In one case 
there is an arched doorway, or niche, which has been 
blocked up. There are no passages except the one 
which surrounds 4 the Temple,' the apartments gene- 
rally leading directly one into another. In some cases 

1 See the ground plan in Mr. 
Fergusson's Hist or if of Architecture, 
vol. ii. p. 430. 

2 Ross in Geoy raph. Journal, vol. 
ix. p. 408. 


the lintel of a doorway is formed of a single stone, and 
ornamented with very delicate carving. 1 The door- 
ways are for the most part towards the corners of 
apartments; that of the Temple, however, is in the 
centre of its eastern wall. 

The general style of the buildings at Hatra lias been 
said to be w Roman or Byzantine ; ' and it has even 
been supposed that 4 in the style of the ornaments and 
sculptured figures may be traced the corrupt taste and 
feeble outline of the artists of Constantinople.' 2 But 
there is abundant reason to believe that the Hatra 
Palace was built nearly two centuries before Constan- 
tinople came into existence ; and, although the large 
use of the round arch in vaulting may be due to the 
spread of Roman architectural ideas, yet there are no 
grounds for supposing that any t but native artists, 
Parthian subjects, were employed in the work, or 
that it is other than a fair specimen of what was 
achieved by the Parthian builders during the later 
period of the empire. The palace of Volagases III. at 
Ctesiphon, which Avidius Cassius destroyed in his 
invasion, 3 was most likely of the same general cha- 
racter — a combination of lofty halls suitable for cere- 
monies and audiences with small and dark sleeping or 
living rooms, opening out of them, the whole placed in 
the middle of a paved court, and the male apartments 
carefully divided from those of the women. 

The remains at Hatra are further remarkable for 
a considerable number of reservoirs and tombs. The 
open space between the town proper and the eastern 
wail and gate is dotted with edifices of a square shape, 
standing apart from one another, which are reasonably 

1 See above, p. 379. ! p. -571. 

2 Layard, Nineveh and Iiabylon, \ 3 Supra, page 328. 



regarded as sepulchres. 1 These are built in a solid 
way, of hewn stone, and consist either of one or two 
chambers. They vary in size from twenty feet square 
to forty, and are generally of about the same height. 
Some are perfectly plain, but the exteriors of others 
are ornamented with pilasters. The reservoirs occur 
in the paved court which surrounds the main building ; 
they have narrow apertures, but expand below the 
aperture into the shape of a bell, and are carefully con- 
structed of well-cut stones closely fitted together. 

The material used at Hatra is uniformly a brownish 
grey limestone ; and the cutting is so clean and smooth 
that it is doubted whether the stones have needed any 
cement. If cement has been employed, at any rate 
it cannot now be seen, the stones everywhere appear- 
ing to touch one another. 

There are several buildings remaining in Persia, the 
date of which cannot be much later than that of the 
Hatra edifice ; 2 but, as it is on the whole more pro- 
bable that they belong to the Sassanian than to the 
Parthian period, no account of them will be given 
here. It will be sufficient to observe that their archi- 
tecture grows naturally out of that which was in use at 
Hatra, and that thus Ave are entitled to ascribe to Par- 
thian times and to subjects of the Parthian Empire that 
impulse to Oriental architecture which awoke it to 
renewed life after a sleep of ages, and which in a short 
time produced such imposing results as the Takht-i- 

1 Ross in Geograph. Journal, vol. He does not, however, question the 

ix. p. 370. Mr. Ainsworth regards sepulchral character of the greater 
some of these buildings as dwelling ! number. 

houses, and thinks that only upon ;i 2 As especially those at Serbistan 

very cursory inspection could they and Firuzabad, described by Mr. 

have been considered in all cases Fergusson in his History of Arclii- 

tombs (Researches, vol. ii. p. 171). tecture, vol. ii. pp. 428-430. 


Khuzroo at Ctesiphon, the ruins of Shapur, and the 
triumphal arch at Takht-i-Bostan. 

The decorative and fictile art of the Parthians has 
received no inconsiderable amount of illustration from 
remains discovered, in the years 1850-1852, in Baby- 
lonia. In combination with a scries of Parthian coins 
were found by Mr. Loftus, on the site of the ancient 
Erech (now Warka), a number of objects in clay, plaster, 
and metal, 1 enabling us to form a fair idea of the mode 
in which purely Parthian edifices were decorated during 
the best times of the empire, and of the style that then 
prevailed in respect of personal ornaments, domestic 
utensils, and other objects capable, more or less, of 
aesthetic handling. The remains discovered comprised 
numerous architectural fragments in plaster and brick ; 
a large number of ornamental coffins ; several statuettes 
in terra-cotta ; jars, jugs, vases, and lamps in earthen- 
ware ; some small glass bottles ; and various personal 
decorations, such as beads, rings, and ear-rings. 

The architectural fragments consisted of capitals of 

Parthian Capitals (alter Loftus). 

pillars, portions of cornices, and specimens of a sort of 
diapering which seems to have been applied to screens 
or thin partitions. The capitals were somewhat heavy 

1 See Loftus, ChaUJeea and Susiana, pp. 202-214. 



[Ch. XXII. 

in design, and at first sight struck the spectator as 
barbarous ; but they exhibited a good deal of in- 
genious boldness, an absence of conventionality, and 
an occasional quaintness of design not unworthy of a 
Gothic decorator. One especially, which combines 
the upper portion of a human figure, wearing the 
puffed-out hair or wig, which the Parthians affected, 
with an elegant leaf rising from the neck of the capital, 
and curving gracefully under the abacus, has decided 
merit, and is ' suggestive of the later Byzantine style.' * 
The cornices occasionally reminded the discoverer of the 
remarkable frieze at El-Hadhr, 2 and were characterised 
by the same freedom and boldness of invention as the 
capitals. But the most curious remains were the frag- 
ments of a sort of screen work, pieces of plaster covered 

Parthian Diapering (after Loftus). 

with geometric designs upon both sides, the •patterns 
on the two sides differing. These designs, though 
unlike in many respects the arabesques of the Mo- 
hammedans, yet seemed on the whole to be their pre- 
cursors, the ' geometric curves and tracery ' appearing 
to ' shadow forth the beauty and richness of a style 
which afterwards followed the tide of Mohammedan 
conquest to the remotest corners of the known world. 3 

1 Loftus, Chaldcea and Susiana, ] 3 Ibid. p. 227. Mr. Loftus argues 
p. 22(5. j that the peculiarities of Saracenic 

- Ibid. p. 225. (See the wood- I architecture, its richly wrought 
cut, supra, p. 379). 

Cn. XXII.] 



The ornamental coffins were of a coarse 
earthenware, bluish-green in hue, and belonged 
kind which has been called ' slipper-shaped.' 1 
varied in length from three feet to 
six, and had a large aperture at 
their upper end, by means of 
which the body . was placed in 
them, and a flat lid to close this 
aperture, ornamented like the 
coffin, and fixed in its place by a 
fine lime cement. A second aper- 
ture at the lower extremity of the 
coffin allowed for the escape of 
the gases disengaged during de- 
composition. The ornamentation 
of the coffins varied, but consisted 


to the 


Figure on coffin (after Loftus). 



tracing and geometric ornamenta- , and Susiana, p. 228.) 
tion, originated with the Parthians, j 1 On these coffins, see Loftus, pp. 
were disused by the Sassanians, and 203 -200 ; Layard, Nineveh and 
after the Mohammedan conquest Babylon, p. 558 ; llawlinson, Ilero- 
were revived by the Arabs. (Chaldaa <loi>';.<, vol. i. p. 272, 2nd edition. 

C C 


generally of small figures of men, about six or seven 
inches in length, the most usual figure being a warrior 
with his arms akimbo and his legs astride, wearing on 
Ins head a coiffure, like that which is seen on the 
Parthian coins, and having a sword hanging from the 

Of the statuettes in terra-cotta, one of the most 
curious represented a Parthian warrior, recumbent, and 

Parthian statuette (after Lot'tus). 

apparently about to drink out of a cup held in the left 
hand. 1 The figure was clad in a long coat of mail, 
with greaves on the legs and a helmet upon the head. 
Others represented females ; these had lofty head- 
dresses, which sometimes rose into two peaks or horns, 
recalling the costume of English ladies in the time of 
Henry IV. These figures were veiled and carefully 
draped about the upper part of the person, but showed 
the face, and had the legs bare from the knee down- 
wards. 2 

The jars, jugs, vases, and lamps greatly resembled 
those of the Assyrian and Babylonian periods, but 
were on the whole more elegant and artistic. The 
forms appended will give a tolerable idea of the general 
character of these vessels. They were of various sizes, 

Loftus, p. 21.3. | 2 Ibid. p. 214. 


and appear to have been placed in the tombs, partly 
as the offerings of friends and well-wishers, partly with 

Parthian vases, jugs, and lamps (after Loftus). 

the more superstitious object of actually supplying the 
deceased with the drink and light needful for him on 
his passage from earth to the realms of the dead. 1 

The glass bottles were, perhaps, lachrymatories.'-' 
They had no peculiar characteristics, but were almost 
exactly similar to objects of the same kind belonging 
to the times of the Assyrian and Babylonian Empires. 3 
They exhibited the same lovely prismatic colours, 
which have been so admired in the glass of those king- 
doms, an effect of decomposition, which, elsewhere 
generally disfiguring, in the case of this material en- 
hances the original beauty of the object tenfold by 
clothing it in hues of the utmost brilliance and de- 
licacy. 4 

The personal decorations consisted chiefly of armlets, 

1 Similar ideas existed amon»' 
the early Babylonians (Ancient 
Monarchies, vol. i. pp. 86-89, 2nd 
edition) and had probably been 
passed on to the mixed race which 
inhabited the same tract of country 
under the Parthians. 

2 As Mr. Loftus supposed (Chal- 
dcea and Susiana, p. 211). 

3 See Ancient Monarchies, vol. i. 
p. 389 ; vol. ii. p. 570, 2nd edit. 

4 Compare the note of Sir I). 
Brewster at the end of Mr. Layard's 
Nineveh and Babylon, pp. G74-G7G 

388 the sixth monarchy. [Cn. xxn. 

bangles, beads, rings, and ear-rings. 1 They were in 
gold, silver, copper, and brass. Some of the smaller 
gold ornaments, such as ear-rings, and small plates or 
beads for necklaces and fillets, were 'of a tasteful and 
elegant design.' 2 The finger-rings were coarser, while 
the toe-rings, armlets, and bangles, were for the most 
part exceedingly rude and barbarous. Head-dresses 
in gold, tall and pointed, are said to have been found 
occasionally ; but the museums of Europe have not yet 
been able to secure any, as they are usually melted 
down by the finders. Broad ribbons of gold, which 
may have depended like strings from a cap, are com- 
moner, and were seen by Mr. Loftus. Altogether, the 
ornaments indicated a strong love of personal display, 
and the possession of considerable wealth, but no 
general diffusion of a correct taste, nor any very ad- 
vanced skill in design or metallurgy. 

Of purely ajsthetic art — art, that is, into which the 
idea of the useful does not enter at all — the Parthians 
appear scarcely to have had an idea. During the five 
centuries of their sway, they seem to have set up no 
more than some half-dozen bas-reliefs. There is, in- 
deed, only one such work which can be positively 
identified as belonging to the Parthian period by the 
inscription which accompanies it. 3 The other pre- 
sumedly Parthian reliefs are adjudged to the people 
by art critics merely from their style and their locality, 
occurring as they do within the limits of the Parthian 
kingdom, and lacking the characteristics which attach 
to the art of those who preceded and of those who 
followed the Parthians in these countries. 

1 Loftus, Chaldcea and Susiana, i :! On this inscription, sec above, 
p. 211. | ch. xv., p. 2(30. 

2 Ibid. 

Cn. XXII.] 



The one certainly Parthian bas-relief is that which 
still exists on the great rock of Behistun, at the foot of 

the mountain, raised but slightly above the plain. 1 It 
seems to have contained a series of tall figures, looking 

1 This monument was seen by- 
Sir H. Rawlinson in 1838, and 
described in the Journal of the 
Geographical Society, vol. ix. p. 1 15. 
It was carefully copied by M. Coste 

and inserted in the great work of 
M. Flandin {Voyage en Perse, 
PlanchesAnciennes, No. 119). The 
accompanying woodcut is taken 


towards the right, and apparently engaged in a march 
or procession, while above and between them were 
smaller figures on horseback, armed with lances, and 
galloping in the same direction. One of these was 
attended by a figure of Fame or Victory, flying in the 
air, and about to place a diadem around his brow. 
The present condition of the sculpture is extremely 
bad. Atmospheric influences have worn away the larger 
figures to such an extent that they are discerned with 
difficulty ; and a recent Governor of Kirmanshah has 
barbarously inserted into the middle of the relief an 
arched niche, in which he has placed a worthless Arabic 
inscription. It is with difficulty that we form any 
judgment of the original artistic merit of a work which 
presents itself to us in such a worn and mutilated form ; 
but, on the whole, we are perhaps justified in pro- 
nouncing that it must at its best have been one of 
inferior quality, even when compared only with the 
similar productions of Asiatics. The general character 
is rather that of the Sassanian than of the Assyrian or 
Persian period. The human figures have a heavy 
clumsiness about them that is unpleasant to contem- 
plate ; the horses are rudely outlined, and are too small 
for the men ; the figure of Fame is out of all propor- 
tion to the hero whom she crowns, and the diadem 
Avhich she places on his head is ridiculous, being nearly 
as large as herself! On the other hand, there is 
spirit in the attitudes of both men and horses ; the 
Fame floats well in air ; and the relief is free from 
that coarse grotesqueness which offends us in the pro- 
ductions of the Sassanian artists. 

Another bas-relief, probably, but not quite certainly 
Parthian, exists in the gorge of Sir-pul-i-zohab, and 
has been recently published in the great work of 



Parthian bas-relief (after Flandin and Coste). 


M. Flandin. 1 The inscription on this monument, though 
it has not yet been deciphered, 2 appears to be written 
in the alphabet found upon the Parthian coins. The 

monument seems to represent a Parthian king, mounted 
on horseback, and receiving a chaplet at the hand of 
a subject. The king wears a cap bound round with 
the diadem, the long ends of which depend over his 
shoulder. He is clothed in a close-fitting tunic and 
loose trowsers, which hang down upon his boots, and 
wears also a short cloak fastened under his chin, and 
reaching nearly to the knee. The horse which he 
bestrides is small, but strongly made ; the tail is long, 
and the mane seems to be plaited. Thus far the repre- 
sentation, though somewhat heavy and clumsy, is not 
ill-drawn ; but the remaining figure — that of the Par- 
thian subject — is wholly without merit. The back of 
the man is turned, but the legs are in profile ; one arm 
is ridiculously short, and the head is placed too near 
the left shoulder. It would seem that the artist, while 
he took pains with the representation of the monarch, 
did not care how ill he rendered the subordinate 
figure, which he left in the unsatisfactory condition that 
may be seen in the preceding woodcut. 

A set of reliefs, 3 discovered by the Baron de Bode 
in the year 1841, are also thought by the best judges 

1 Flandin, Voyage en Verse, torn, 
iv. pi. 208. 

? If the inscription were copied 
by a person versed in the character, 
it is probable that there would be 

traceable at the commencement of 
the left-hand inscription. 

3 These reliefs were communi- 
cated by the Baron to M. Flandin, 
and will be found represented in 

little difficulty in deciphering- it. the Voyage en Perse, torn. iv. plates 
But the differences between several | 224 and 22(1 They exist on an 
of the Parthian letters are so isolated mass of black rock, near 
slight that it is extremely hard for Tengh-i-Saoulek in the Bakhtvari 
a person unskilled in the character mountains (Voyage, torn. i. pp. 184, 
to make a correct transcript. Still 185). 
the word 'satrap' seems to be 1 

Ch. XXII.] 



to be Parthian. The most important of them repre- 
sents a personage' of consequence, apparently a Magus, 
who seems to be in the act of consecrating a sacred 

Parthian bas-relief of a Magus (after Flandin and Coste). 

cippus, round which have been placed wreaths or 

chaplets. Fifteen spectators are present, arranged in 

# two rows, one above the other, all except the first of 


them standing. The first sits upon a rude chair or 
stool. The figures generally are in an advanced stage 
of decay ; but that of the Magus is tolerably well pre- 
served, and probably indicates with sufficient accuracy 
t he costume and appearance of the great hierarchs under 
the Parthians. The conical cap described by Strabo 1 
is very conspicuous. Below this the hair is worn in 
the puffed-out fashion of the later Parthian period. 
The upper lip is ornamented by moustaches, and the 
chin covered by a straight beard. The figure is dressed 
in a long sleeved tunic, over which is worn a cloak, 
fastened at the neck by a round brooch, and descending 
a little below the knees. The legs are encased in a 
longer and a shorter pair of trowsers, the former plain, 
the latter striped perpendicularly. Pound the neck is 
worn a collar or necklace ; and on the right arm are 
three armlets and three bracelets. The conical cap 
appears to be striped or fluted. 

On the same rock, but in no very evident connection 
with the main representation, is a second relief, in 
which a Parthian cavalier, armed with a bow and 
arrows, and a spear, contends with a wild animal, 
seemingly a bear. 2 A long flowing robe here takes 
the place of the more ordinary tunic and trowsers. 
On the head is worn a rounded cap or tiara. The 
hair has the usual puffed-out appearance. The bow 
is carried in the left hand, and the quiver hangs 
from the saddle behind the rider, 3 while with his right 

1 Strab. xv. 3, § 15. 

2 M. Flandin doubts whether the 
animal is intended for a bear or a 
lion ( Voyage, p. 185) ; but his re- 
presentation fairly resembles the 
former, while it presents no likeness j (supra, p. 180). 
to the latter animal. 

Compare a representation of a 

Parthian warrior in M. Flandin's 
work (pi. 225) ; and see also the 
coin of Labienus, which represents 
him equipped in Parthian fashion 


hand lie thrusts his spear into the beast's neck. The 
execution of the whole tablet seems to have been rude ; 

but it has suffered so much from time and weather, 
that no very decided judgment can be passed upon it. 

Another still ruder representation occurs also on 
another lace of the same rock. This consists of a 



[Ch. XXIL 

female figure reclining upon a couch, and guarded by 
three male attendants, one at the head of the couch 
unarmed, and the remaining two at its foot, seated, and 
armed with spears. The female has puffed-out hair, 
and carried in her right hand, which is outstretched, a 
wreath or chaplet. One of the spearmen has a curious 
rayed head-dress ; and the other has a short streamer 
attached to the head of his spear. Below the main 
tablet are three rudely carved standing figures, repre- 
senting probably other attendants. 

This set of reliefs may perhaps be best regarded as 
forming a single series, the Parthian king being repre- 
sented as engaged in hunting the bear, while the queen 
awaits his return upon her couch, and the chief Magus 
attached to the court makes prayer for the monarch's 

Such are the chief remains of Parthian aesthetic art. 
They convey an idea of decline below the standard 
reached by the Persians of the Achaemenian times, 
which was itself a decline from the earlier art of the 
Assyrians. Had they been the efforts of a race devoid 
of models, they might fairly have been regarded as not 
altogether without promise. But, considered as the 
work of a nation which possessed the Achaemenian 
sculptures, and which had moreover, to a certain ex- 
tent, access to Greek examples, 1 they must be pro- 
nounced clumsy, coarse, and wanting in all the higher 
qualities of Fine Art. It is no wonder that they are 
scanty and exceptional. The nation which could pro- 

1 The sculptures at Persepolis, 
Nakhsh-i-Rustam, Behistun, &c, 
must always have been exposed to 
view, and would have sufficed* to 
form a better taste than that which is 

actually found among the Parthians 
had they possessed fair aesthetic 
capacity. That, besides these, they 
possessed Greek models appears 
from the emblems upon their coins. 


duce nothing better must have felt that its vocation was 
not towards the artistic, and that its powers had better 
be employed in other directions, e.g. in conquest and 
in organisation. It would seem that the Parthians 
perceived this, and therefore devoted slight attention 
to the Fine Arts, preferring to occupy themselves 
mainly with those pursuits in which they excelled; 
viz. war, limiting, and government. 



Customs of the Parthians — in Religion; in War; in their Embassies 
and Dealings with Foreign Nations ; at the Court : in Private Life. 
Extent of the Refinement to which they readied. Their gradual Decline 
in Taste and Knowledge. 

"E0T] iyovra. iroKv filv rb fiapfiapov nal rb ^KvOinbv, irkeov fxivroi rb xpi\ai^ov irpbs 
Tiye/Aoviav Ka\ rr]v iv roils iroAe'/xo'S KaropQwcriu. — Strab. xi. 9, § 2. 

Very little is known as to the religion of the Parthians. 
It seems probable that during the Persian period they 
submitted to the Zoroastrian system, 1 which was gene- 
rally maintained by the Achsemenian kings, acquiescing, 
like the great bulk of the conquered nations, in the reli- 
gious views of their conquerors ; but as this was not 
their own religion, we may conclude that they were 
at no time very zealous followers of the Bactrian pro- 
phet, 2 and that as age succeeded age they became 
continually more lukewarm in their feelings, and more 
lax in their religious practice. The essence of Zoroas- 
trian belief was dualism — recognition of Ormazd as the 
great Principle of Good, and of Ahriman as the Prin- 
ciple of Evil. We need not doubt that, in word, the 
Parthians from first to last admitted this antagonism, 
and professed a belief in Ormazd as the supreme 
god, and a dread of Ahriman and his ministers. But 

1 P>y ' the Zoroastrian system ' must 
be here understood, not the original 
teaching of Zoroaster as exhibited to 
lis in the more ancient portions of 
the Zendavesta (see the author's 

produced by the contact of Zoroas- 
trianism with Magism, which was 
adopted by the Achyemenian mo- 
narchs from Xerxes downwards. 
(Ibid. pp. .°,44-:5o4.) 

Ancient Monarchies, vol. ii. pp. ~ Annn. Marc, xxiii. G, p. 405, 
322-344), but the mixed religion ed. Gronov. 


practically, their religious aspirations rested, not on 
these dim abstractions, but on beings whose existence 
they could better realise, and whom they could feel to 
be less remote from themselves. The actual devotion 
of the Parthians was offered to the Sun and Moon, to 
deities who were supposed to preside over the royal 
house, and to ancestral idols which each family pos- 
sessed, and conveyed with it from place to place with 
every change of habitation. The Sun was saluted at 
his rising, 1 was worshipped in temples, under the name 
of Mithra, with sacrifices and offerings ; 2 had statues 
erected in his honour, and was usually associated with 
the lesser luminary. 3 The deities of the royal house 
were probably either genii, ministers of Ormazd, to 
whom was committed the special protection of the 
monarchs and their families, like the bagdha vitldyd 
of the Persians, 4 or else the ancestors of the reigning 
monarch, to whom a qualified divinity seems to have 
been assigned in the later times of the empire. 5 The 
Parthian kings usually swore by these deities on 
solemn occasions ; 6 and other members of the royal 
family made use of the same oath. 7 The main wor- 
ship, however, of the great mass of the people, even 
when they were of the royal stock, was concentrated 
upon ancestral images, 8 which had a place sacred to 

Herodian. iv. 30. ' Xanaoaiiivoi \ 5 See Mos. Choren. l.s.c. 

ruv "H\ioi', o>g tOng avToig, 

2 The worship at Hatra (supra, 
p. 343) is probably a fair specimen 
of the Parthian cult of the Sun 
at other places. The Hatrene 

6 Joseph. Ant. Jud. xviii. 9, § 3. 

7 Ibid. § G. 

8 We have an account of this 
worship only in Josephus (Ant. 
Jud. xviii. 9, § 5) ; he, however, 

worship may have had an Arabian appears to be perfectly familiar with 

tin<re, but, on the whole, it is pro 
bable that it conformed itself to 
that of the dominant people. 

3 Mos. Chor. Hist. Arm. ii. 74. 

4 Peraep- In*cr. H. 11. 14, 22, 24. 

it. He calls the imag-es d^iopvfu.ra 
tojv Osiijv and at^an^aTa, and the 
worship offered to them etpairtiav 

or 9p7j(TKeiav. 


them in each house, and received the constant adoration 
of the household. 

In the early times of the empire the Magi were held 
in high repute, and most of the peculiar tenets and 
rites of the Magian religion were professed and fol- 
lowed by the Parthians. Elemental worship was prac- 
tised. Fire was, no doubt, held sacred, and there was 
an especial reverence for rivers. 1 Dead bodies were 
not burned, but were exposed to be devoured by birds 
and beasts of prey, after which the dry bones were 
collected and placed in tombs. 2 The Magi formed a 
large portion of the great national council, which 
elected and, if need were, deposed the kings. 3 But in 
course of time much laxity was introduced. The 
Arsacid monarchs of Armenia allowed the Sacred Fire 
of Ormazd, which ought to have been kept continually 
burning, to go out ; 4 and we can scarcely suppose but 
that the Parthian Arsacida) shared their negligence. 
Eespect for the element of fire so entirely passed away, 
that we hear of the later Parthians burning their 
dead. 5 The Magi fell into disrepute, and, if not 
expelled from their place in the council, at any rate 
found themselves despised and deprived of influence. 
The later Parthian religion can have been little more 
than a worship of the Sun and Moon, and of the tera- 
phim, or sacred images, which were the most precious 
possessions of each household. 

While thus lax and changeful in their own religious 
practice, the Parthians were, naturally, tolerant of a 
variety of creeds among their subjects. Fire altars 
were maintained, and Zoroastrian zeal was allowed to 

1 Justin, xli. 3. 4 Mos. Choren. Hid. Ann. l.s.c. 

2 Ibid. 5 Herodian. iv. .'50. 
; Strab. xi. 0, § '■). G Agathias, ii. 20. 


flourish in the dependent kingdom of Persia. 1 In the 
Greek cities the Olympian gods were permitted to 
receive the veneration of thousands, 2 while in Babylon, 
Nearda, and Kisibis the Jews enjoyed the free exercise 
of their comparatively pure and elevated religion.' 5 
Xo restrictions seem to have been placed on prosely- 
tism, and Judaism certainly boasted many converts 
from the heathen in Adiabene, Cliarax Spasini, and 
elsewhere. 4 Christianity also penetrated the Parthian 
provinces to a considerable extent, and in one Parthian 
country, at any rate, seems to have become the state 
religion. The kings of Osrhoene are thought to have 
been Christians from the time of the Antonines, 5 if not 
from that of our Lord ; G and a flourishing church was 
certainly established at Edessa before the end of the 
second century. 7 The Parthian Jews who were wit- 
nesses of the miraculous events which signalised the 
day of Pentecost 8 may have, in some cases, taken with 
them the new religion to the land where they had their 
residence ; or the Apostle, St. Thomas, may (as Euse- 
bius declares 9 ) have carried the Gospel into the regions 

1 See above, p. 366. tunes, vol. i. pp. 328, .329. 

- Amni. Marc, xxiii. 6, p. 403; : 7 A council was held in Edessa 
Jul. Oapit. Vit. Ver. Imp. § 8. j on the proper time for keeping 

3 Joseph. Ant. Jud. xviii. 9, § 1, Easter in the year a. d. 198. (Bur- 
et seq. ton, vol. ii. p. 21G.) The Syriac 

4 Ibid. (Peshito) version of the Scriptures 

5 See Bayer, Hist. Edess. e was probably made for the Edessene 
numis Must rata, iii. p. 173, and Christians before the end of the 
Asseman, Bibliotheca Orientalis, vol. first century (ib. vol. i. p. 328 ; 
i. p. 423. : Michaelis, Introduction, vii. § 8). 

6 On the supposed letter of Ab- 8 Acts, ii. 9. 

garus, king of Edessa, to our Lord, j ° Hist. Eccles. iii. 1. Jtufinus, 
and the reply to it, his cure by who wrote in the fourth century, 
Thaddseus, and the conversion of says that St. Thomas was buried at 
his subjects, see Euseb. Hist. Ec. Edessa. (Hist. Eccl. ii. 5. Com- 
i. 13, and compare Lardner, Crcdi- pare Socrat. iv. 18 and Sozom. vi. 
bUity, vol. vi. p. 590, and Burton, j 18.) 
Eecles. Hist, of First Three Cen- I 

D D 


beyond the Euphrates, and have planted the Christian 
( Jhurch in the countries out of which the Jewish Church 
sprang. Besides the flourishing community of Edessa, 
which was predominantly, if not wholly, Christian from 
the middle of the second century, many converts were, 
we are told, to be found among the inhabitants of 
Persia, Media, Parthia Proper, and even Bactria. 1 
The infusion, however, was not sufficient to leaven to 
any serious extent the corrupt mass of heathenism into 
which it was projected ; and we cannot say that the 
general character of the Parthian empire, or of the 
manners and customs of its subjects, was importantly 
affected by the new religion, though it had an extraor- 
dinary influence over individuals. 

The Parthians were essentially a warlike people ; 
and the chief interest which attaches to them is con- 
nected with their military vigour and ability. It is 
worth while to consider at some length the peculiarities 
of that military system which proved itself superior to 
the organisation of the Macedonians, and able to main- 
tain for nearly three hundred years a doubtful contest 
with the otherwise irresistible Eomans. 

We are told that the Parthians had no standing 
army. 2 When war was proclaimed and the monarch 
needed a force, he made his immediate vassals ac- 
quainted with the fact, and requested each of them to 
marshal their troops, and bring them to a fixed ren- 
dezvous by a certain day. 3 The troops thus summoned 
were of two kinds, Parthian and foreign. The go- 
vernors of the provinces, whether tributary kings or 

1 Bardesanes ap. Euseb. Trap. \ "' Ibid. ' O TlapPvatoc siri**T(\flv 
J'Jr. vi. 10. Bardesanes was a native J *■/;; Title rtUTpairaii; Svvapiv aDpoi'^tw' 
of Edessa, and wrote a little after ! ovtvj yap tu.) L ty, oir^v'tKa av dtrjGy 
the middle of the second century. trrpnrov cvWiyuv, ro> n>) *x ilv i nn ~ 

Herodian. iii. 1. • \ GoQopovs teal ovv&otoq arpa- 

north-;; i . 


satraps, culled out the military strength of their respec- 
tive districts, saw to their arming and provisioning-, 
and, marching each at the head of his contingent, 
brought a foreign auxiliary force to the assistance of 
the Great King. 1 But the back-bone of the army, its 
main strength, the portion on which alone much re- 
liance was placed, consisted of Parthians. Each Par- 
thian noble was bound to call out his slaves and his 
retainers, to arm and equip them at his own expense, 
and bring them to the rendezvous by the time named. 2 
The number of troops furnished by each noble varied 
according to his position and his means ; w r e hear in 
one instance of their amounting to as many as 10,000, 3 
while in another recorded case 4 the average number 
which each furnished was no more than 125. The 
various contingents had their own baggage-trains, 
consisting ordinarily of camels, in the proportion (as it 
would seem) of one to every ten fighting- men. 5 

A Parthian army consisted usually of both horse and 
foot, but in proportions unusual elsewhere. The foot 
soldiers were comparatively few in number, and were 
regarded as of small account. Every effort was made 
to increase the amount and improve the equipment of 
the horsemen, who bore the brunt of every fight, and 
from whose exertions alone victory was hoped. Some- 

1 These auxiliary forces are not | fought against Antony at 400, the 
often mentioned by the Greek and j army itself at 50,000. This would 
Latin writers. Still occasionally ! give to each noble an average of 

we catch a glimpse of them. (See 
Joseph, xviii. 9, § 2; xx. 3. § 4, 

3 Justin, xli. 2. 

3 Plutarch, Crass. § 21. Ii7y/ ^ 


5 This, at any rate, was the pro- 
portion in the case mentioned in 
note 3 , where the 10,000 slaves and 
retainers of Surenas were accom- 

rofc; trvftvavrag 'nnriiQ \_o Xovpifi/ac'], i panied by a thousand baggage- 
U/.WI' r-iXarcic rj ical 8ov\ovg } fxvpitav j camels. (Plut. 1. s. c. ; Appian, 
ovk diroSiovroQ, Parth. p. 141.) 

4 Justin (1. s. c.) estimates the; 6 Plut. Crass. § 19 j Appian, Parth. 
nobles in the Parthian army which J p. 138. 



times armies consisted of horsemen only, 1 or rather of 
horsemen followed by a baggage train composed of 
camels and chariots. 

The horse were of two kinds, heavy and light. The 
heavy horsemen (xuTafypaxroi) wore coats of mail, 
reaching to their knees, composed of raw hide covered 
with scales of iron or steel, 2 very bright, 3 and capable of 
resisting a strong blow. 4 They had on their heads bur- 
nished helmets of Margian steel, whose glitter dazzled the 
spectator. 5 Their legs seem not to have been greaved, 
but encased in a loose trouser, which hung about the 
ankles and embarrassed the feet, if by any chance the 
horseman was forced to dismount. 6 They carried no 
shield, 7 being sufficiently defended by their coats of 
mail. Their offensive arms were a long spear (xovrog), 
which was of great strength and thickness, 8 and a "bow 
and arrows of unusual size. 9 They likewise carried in 
their girdle a short sword 10 or knife ([xa^aipa), which 
might be used in close combat. Their horses were, 
like themselves, protected by a defence of scale 
armour, 11 which was either of steel or bronze. 12 

1 As that employed against Cras- 
sus. (See above, p. 159.) 

Od>paKtig oi/iOjduon-ovv Kal <TtSi]pnvc. 

9 App. Parth. p. 144. The size 
and strength of the bow which they 
used enabled the Parthians to de- 

Pi ut. Crass. § 25. Compare Justin, ! liver their arrows at a speed which 
xli. 2, ad Jin. \ was very unusual, and which made 

3 Plut. Crass. § 24. 

4 Ibid. §§ 18,25. 

5 Ibid. § 24. Korh'ri tov Napyiai'ov 
a ir ijpiw ariXfiovroc; otvicai 7ri<oi\tifnr^. 

c Heiodian. iv. 30, p. 173. The 
representation of a mailed warrior 

them most formidable archers. (See 
Plut. Crass. §§ 18 and 24.) The 
arrow was not seen till it struck, 
and it pierced easily through all 
customary armour. 

10 The knife, which was worn in 

thus attired at Takht-i-Bostan (Ker j private life (Joseph. Ant. Jud.xvm. 

Porter, vol. ii. PI. G2), though of 
the Sassanian period, lends force to 
the statement of Ilerodian. 

' Dio Cass. xl. 15. Compare 
Justin, xli. 2, ad Jin. 

8 Plut. Ant. § 45 ; Crass. § 27 ; 
Dio Cass. xl. 22 ; Appian, Parth. p. 
148 ; Ilerodian. iv. 30. 

§ 4), was certainly not laid aside 
in war. It was frequently em- 
ployed to cut off the head of a dead 
enemy. (Plut. Crass. §§25 and 

11 Justin, l.s.c. 

12 Plut. Crass. § 24, ad init. 


The light horse was armed with the same sort of 
bows and arrows as the heavy, but earned no spear 
and wore no armour. It was carefully trained to the 
management of the horse and the bow, 1 and was un- 
equalled in the rapidity and dexterity of its move- 
ments. The archer delivered his arrows with as much 
precision and force in retreat as in advance, and was 
almost more feared when he retired than when he 
charged his foe. 2 Besides his arrows, the light horse- 
man seems to have carried a sword, 3 and he no doubt 
wore also the customary knife in his belt. 

We are told by one writer * that it was a practice 
of the Parthians to bring into battle a number of led 
horses, and that the riders from time to time ex- 
changed their tired steeds for fresh ones, thus obtain- 
ing a great advantage over enemies who had no 
such practice. But the accounts which we have of 
Parthian engagements make no reference to this usage, 
which \ve can therefore scarcely suppose to have been 
adopted to any large extent. It may be doubted, also, 
if the practice could ever be one of much value, since 
the difficulty of managing led horses amid the tumult 
of a battle would probably more than counterbalance 
the advantage derivable from relays of fresh steeds. 

During the later period of the monarchy, the Par- 
thians, who had always employed camels largely in the 
conveyance of stores and baggage, 5 are said to have 
introduced a camel corps into the army itself, and to 
have derived considerable advantage from the new 

1 Justin, 1. s. c. < Ho3 pari ac Hor. Od. i. 10, 11 ; ii. 13,16; Tacit, 

liberos suos cura habent, et equitare Ann. vi. 35. 

et sagittare magna industria do- 3 Dio Cass. xl. 24. 

cent.' 4 Dio Cass, l.s.c. 

3 Plut. Crass. § 24, ad Jin. ; Jus- 5 Plut. Crass. § 21; Appian, 

tin, xli. 2 ; Virg. Georg, iii. 31 ; Parthica, p. 144. 


arm. 1 The camels could bear the weight of the mailed 
warrior and of their own armour better than horses, 
and their riders were at once more safe in their ele- 
vated position and more capable of dealing effective 
blows upon the enemy. As a set-off, however, against 
these advantages, the spongy feet of the camel were 
found to be more readily injured by the tribulus, or 
caltrop, than the harder feet of the horse, and the 
corps was thus more easily disabled than an equal 
force of cavalry, if it could be tempted to pass over 
ground on which caltrops had been previously scat- 
tered. 2 

The Parthian tactics were of a simple kind, and dif- 
fered little from those of other nations in the same 
region, which have depended mainly on their cavalry. 
To surround their foe, to involve him in difficulties, to 
cut off his supplies and his stragglers, and ultimately 
to bring him into a position where he might be over- 
whelmed b}^ missiles, was the aim of all Parthian com- 
manders of any military capacity. Their warfare was 
suited for defence rather than for attack, unless against 
contemptible enemies. 3 They were bad hands at 
sieges, 4 and seldom ventured to engage in them, though 
they would do so if circumstances required it. 5 They 
wearied of long campaigns, and if they did not find 
victory tolerably easy, were apt to retire and allow 
their foe to escape, 6 or baffle him by withdrawing their 

1 Ilerodian. iv. 28, 30. 

2 Ibid. p. 172. 

3 Dio Cass. xl. 15, ad Jin. 

4 Justin, xli. 2 : — ' Obsessas ex- 
pugnare urbes nesciunt.' Compare 

shut himself up in it (Plut. Crass. 
§ 28). They actually besieged 
Antioch in B.C. 52, and Apamaja 
in B.C. 40. (See above, pp. 180 and 

Dio Cass. xl. 20 ('Aofivarat ™X- j « g ee pj ut# Anton. § 49. Their 
lO'iK^jnai -i rittav) and Tacit. Ann. persistency against Macrinus is 
xv. 4 (' Partho ad exsequendas ob- noticed as something strange and 
sidiones nulla cominus audacia'). I unusual (Ilerodian. iv. -°>0; pp. 173, 

5 They were ready to have be- ' 174). 
sieged Crassns in Carrlise, if he had I 


forces into a distant and inaccessible region. After 
their early victories over Crassus and Antony, they 
never succeeded in preventing the steady advance of 
a Eoman army into their territory, or in repulsing a 
determined attack upon their capital. Still they gene- 
rally had their revenge after a short time. It was 
easy for the Romans to overrun Mesopotamia, but it 
was not so easy for them to hold it ; and it was scarcely 
possible for them to retire from it after an occupation 
without disaster. The clouds of Parthian horse hung 
upon their retreating columns, straitened them for pro- 
visions, galled them with missiles, and destroyed those 
who could not keep up with the main body. The towns 
upon the line of their retreat revolted and shut their 
gates, defying even such commanders as Severus and 
Trajan. Of the six great expeditions of Borne against 
Parthia, one only, that of Avidius Cassius, was entirely 
successful. In every other case either the failure of 
the expedition was complete, or the glory of the 
advance was tarnished by disaster and suffering during 
the retreat. 

The results of invading Parthia. would have been 
even more calamitous to an assailant but for one weak 
point in the military system of the Parthians. They 
were excessively unwilling to venture near an enemy 
at night, and as a general rule abstained from all mili- 
tary movements during the hours of darkness. 1 As 
evening approached, they drew off to a considerable 
distance from their foe, and left him unmolested to 
retreat in any direction that he pleased. The reason 
of this probably was, not merely that they did not 

1 Plut. Crass. §20: — ^vKronu\iiv ov Trdrptov <(i>ruli; Igtiv. Compare 
Anton. § 47. 


fortify their camps; 1 but that, depending wholly on 
their horses, and being forced to hobble or tether them 
at night, they could not readily get into fighting order 
on a sudden during darkness. Once or twice in the 
course of their history, we find them departing from 
their policy of extreme precaution, and recommencing 
the pursuit of a flying foe before dawn ; but it is noted 
as an unusual occurrence. 2 

It was also a general principle of Parthian warfare 
to abstain from campaigning during the winter. 3 So 
much depended upon the tension of their bow-strings, 
which any dampness relaxed, that their rule was to 
make all their expeditions in the dry time of their 
year, which lasted from early in the spring until late 
in the autumn. The rule was, however, transgressed 
upon occasions. Phraates II. made his attack upon 
Antiochus Sidetes, while the snow was still upon the 
ground ; 4 and Yolagases I. fell upon Partus after the 
latter had sent his troops into winter quarters. 5 The 
Parthians could bear cold no less than heat ; though it 
was perhaps rather in the endurance of the latter than 
of the former that they surpassed the Eomans. The 
sun's rays were never too hot for them ; 6 and they 
did not need water •frequently or in large quanti- 
ties. The Eomans believed that they increased their 
ability of bearing thirst by means of certain drugs 
which they consumed ; 7 but it may be questioned 

1 So Dio (xl. 24). But the real j 3 Dio Cass. xl. 15; Plut. Anton. 
grounds of their usage, a usage § 40. 

common to them with the Persians, 4 See above, p. 103. 

are better seen from what Xeno- 5 See above, p. 270. 

phon says of the latter. (Anab. \ 6 Tdi> i'i\wv (pXaywdeorarav Svra 

iii. 4, § 34. Compare Ancient ; ai»x">' T(lt T \i crvprjbetq, (Dio Cass. 

Monarchies, vol. iv. p. 138.) l.s.c.) 

2 II up a ru tlioUoc ?r« vvktoq 7 Ibid. 
iSiuKov. (Plut. Ant. § 47.) 


whether they really employed any other remedies than 
habit and resolution. 

We find no use of chariots among the Parthians, 
except for the conveyance of the females, who accom- 
panied the nobles upon their expeditions. The wives 
and concubines of the chiefs followed the camp in great 
numbers ; * and women of a less reputable class, singers, 
dancers, and musicians, swelled the ranks of the super- 
numeraries. 2 Many of these were Greeks from Selencia 
and other Macedonian towns. 3 The commissariat and 
transport departments are said to have been badly 
organised; 1 but some thousands of baggage camels 
always accompanied an army, 5 carrying stores and 
provisions. Of these a considerable portion were laden 
with arrows, G of which the supply was in this way 
rendered inexhaustible. 

The use of the elephant in war w^as still more rare 
in Parthia than that of the chariot. While the Seleucid 
kings employed the animal to a large extent, 7 and its 
use was also probably known to the Greek princes of 
Bactria, 8 the Arsacicla3 appear to have almost en- 
tirely neglected it. On one occasion alone do we find 
their employment of it mentioned, 9 and then we hear 

1 Plutarch says that the general army may be presumed to have 
employed against Crassus was ac- i been accompanied by several thou- 
companied by 200 chariots contain- | sands. 

ing his concubines (Crass. §. 21), 

- Ibid. § 32. Kar ovpav Tt]c 
<t,a\ayyo^ tig Tropvag kuI KporaXa Kai 
^aA/xoi't; sat Travvv\iSaq aKoXdoTovg 
fitru yvvaiKMV TtXfvrutffav. 

3 Ibid. EeXevKidStg trulpai p.ovo- 

4 Dio Cass. xl. 15, ad Jin. 

6 Ibid. § 25, ad init. 

7 Polvb. x. 34, § 11; xxxi. 3, 
§ 11; Strab. xv. 1, § 3G; Plut. 
Alex. § 02. 

8 The elephant occurs on the 
coins of the Bactrian kings (Mion- 
net, Supplement, torn. viii. pp. 482, 
485). One monarch, Demetrius, 

Pint. Crass. § 21. if the gene- I wears a head-dress made out of the 
ral employed against Crassus had a ' head of an elephant (ibid. p. 473). 
thousand baggage camels for his | 9 Tacit. Ann. xv. 15. 
own slaves and retainers, the entire 


of only a single animal, which is ridden by the monarch. 
Probably the unwieldy creature was regarded by the 
Parthians as too heavy and clumsy for the light and 
rapid movements of their armies, and was thus dis- 
used during the period of their supremacy, though 
again employed, after Parthia had fallen, by the Sas- 
sanidse. 1 

The Parthians entered into battle with much noise 
and shouting. 2 They made no use of trumpets or 
horns, but employed instead the kettledrum, which 
resounded from all parts of the field when they made 
their onset. 3 Their attack was furious. The mailed 
horsemen charged at speed, and often drove their spears 
through the bodies of two enemies at a blow. 4 The 
light horse and the foot, when any was present, de- 
livered their arrows with precision and with extra- 
ordinary force. But if the assailants were met with a 
stout resistance, the first vigour of the attack was rarely 
long maintained. The Parthian warriors grew quickly 
w^eary of an equal contest, and, if they could not force 
their enemy to give way, soon changed their tactics. 
Pretending panic, dispersing, and beating a hasty re- 
treat, they endeavoured to induce their foe to pursue 
hurriedly and in disorder, being ready at any moment 
to turn and take advantage of the least appearance 
of confusion. If these tactics failed, as they com- 
monly did after they came to be known, the simulated 
flight was generally converted into a real one ; further 

1 See Amra. Marc. xxv. 3,G, Sec. : 
and compare Malcolm, History of 
Persia, vol. i. p. 170; Ockley, 
History of the Saracens, p. 143 ; 
Ker Porter, Travels, vol. ii. PI. 63 
and 64. 

2 Pint. Crass. § 20; Ilerodian. 
iv. .30. 

3 Justin, xli. 2 ; Plut. Crass. § 23, 
sub Jin. ; Appian, Tarth. p. 143. 

4 Plut. Crass. § 27. 


conflict was avoided, or at any rate deferred to another 
occasion. 1 

When the Parthians wished to parley with an enemy, 
they unstrung their bows, 2 and advancing with the 
right hand outstretched," asked for a conference. 
They are accused by the Eomans of sometimes using 
treachery on sncli occasions, but, except in the single 
case of Crassus, the charge of bad faith cannot be sus- 
tained against them. On solemn occasions, when the 
intention was to discuss grounds of complaint or to 
bring a war to an end by the arrangement of terms of 
peace, a formal meeting was arranged between their 
representatives and those of their enemy, generally on 
neutral ground, as on an island in the Euphrates, or on 
a bridge constructed across it. 4 Here the chiefs of the 
respective nations met, accompanied by an equal 
number of guards, while the remainder of their forces 
occupied the opposite banks of the river. Matters 
were discussed in friendly fashion, the Greek language 
being commonly employed as the vehicle of commu- 
nication ; 5 after which festivities usually took place, 
the two chiefs mutually entertaining each other, or 
accepting in common the hospitalities of a third party. 
The terms of peace agreed upon were reduced to 

1 Compare l)io Cass. xl. 15;! 2 Plut. Crass. § 30; Anton. §§ 
Hut Ant. §§ 29, 42, 45 ; Herodian. | 4G and 49. 
iv. 30. Justin's summary expresses 3 Plutarch, l.s.c. 
a fair judgment: — ' Pugnant procur- 4 Veil. Paterc. ii. 101; Joseph, 
rentibus equis, aut terga dantibus ; Ant. Jud. xviii. 4, § 5. 
saBpe etiam fugam simulant, ut 5 On the Parthian knowledge of 
incautiores adversum vulnera in- Greek, see Plut. Crass. § 33. I 
Bequentea habeant. . . . Nee pug- gather from Dio and Herodian that 
nare din possunt; cseterum in- Greek was the language used in the 
tolerandi forent, si quantus his diplomatic intercourse of the Par- 
impetus est, vis tauta et perseve- thians and Romans. 
rantia esset ' (xl. 2). c See the passages cited in note '. 


writing ; l hands were grasped as a sign that faith was 
pledged; 2 and oaths having been interchanged, 3 the 
conference broke up, and the chiefs returned to their 
respective residences. 

Besides negotiating by means of conferences, the 
Parthian monarchs often sent out to neighbouring 
states, and in return received from them, formal em- 
bassies. The ambassadors in every case conveyed, as 
a matter of course, gifts to the prince to whom they 
were accredited, 4 which might consist of articles of 
value, or of persons. Augustus included an Italian 
slave-girl 5 among the presents which he transmitted 
to Phraates IV. ; and Artabanus III. sent a Jewish 
giant to Tiberius. The object of an embassy was 
sometimes simply to congratulate ; but more often 
the ambassadors were instructed to convey certain 
demands, or proposals, from their own prince to the 
head of the other nation, whereto his assent was re- 
quired, or requested. These proposals were commonly 
formulated in a letter from the one prince to the 
other, 7 which it was the chief duty of the ambassadors 
to convey safely. Free powers to conclude a treaty at 
their discretion were rarely, or never, entrusted to 
them. Their task was merely to deliver the royal 
letter, to explain its terms, if they were ambiguous, 
and to carry back to their own monarch the reply of 
the foreign sovereign. The sanctity of the ambassa- 

1 Plut. Crass. § 31. teh> n 
ynttyaoHm tcl^ avvByKac. Compare 
Ilerodian. iv. 18 and 30. 

4, § 5 ; Tacit. Ann. xv. 25 ; Ilero- 
dian. iv. 18. 

5 See above, p. 214. 

2 Hence such phrases as ' reno- j 6 Joseph. Ant. Jud. xviii. 4, § 5. 
vari dextras ' (Tac. Ann. ii. 58), j 7 On these letters, see Tacit, 
and the like. Ann. xv. 24; Dio Cass. Iv. 11; 

3 Ilerodian. iv. 30. Sueton. Tiber. § GG ; Ilerodian. iv. 

4 Joseph. Ant. Jud. xviii. 2, § 4 ; 18, 10, 30, &c. 

Gh. xxiil] embassies and hostages. 413 

do rial character was invariably respected by the Par- 
tisans, who are never even taxed with a violation 
of it. 

As a security for the performance of engagements, 
or for the permanent maintenance of a friendly attitude, 
it was usual in the East during the Parthian period to 
require, and give, hostages. The princes who occupied 
the position of Parthian feudatories gave hostages to 
their suzerain, who were frequently their near relations, 
as sons or brothers. 1 And a practice grew up of the 
Parthian monarchs themselves depositing their own 
sons or brothers with the Eoman Emperor, at first 
perhaps merely for their own security, 2 but afterwards 
as pledges for their good behaviour. 3 Such hostages 
lived at the expense of the Eoman court, and were 
usually treated with distinction. In the event of a 
rupture between their country and Eome, they had 
little to fear. Eome found her advantage in employ- 
ing them as rivals to a monarch with whom she had 
quarrelled, a.ud did not think it necessary to punish 
them for his treachery or inconstancy. 

The magnificence of the Parthian court is celebrated 
in general terms by various writers, but not very many 
particulars have come down to us respecting it. We 
know that it was migratory, moving from one of the chief 
cities of the empire to another at different seasons of 
the year, 4 and that owing to the vast number of the 
persons composing it, there was a difficulty sometimes 
in providing for their subsistence upon the road. 5 ' The 
court comprised the usual extensive harem of an 
Oriental prince, consisting of a single recognised 

_ h. Ant. Jud. xx. 2, § 3. 3 Joseph, xviii. 4, § 5. 

- IbicL xviii. 2, § 4 ; Tacit. Ann. I 4 See above, p. 92. 
ii. 1 ; Strab. xvi. 1, § 28. | 5 Strab. xi. '9, § 1. 


queen, and a multitude of secondary wives or con- 
cubines. The legitimate wife of the prince was com- 
monly a native, and in most cases was selected from 
the royal race of the Arsacidse ; l but sometimes she 
was the daughter of a dependent monarch, 2 and she 
might even be a slave raised by royal favour from that 
humble position." The concubines were frequently 
Gfreeks. 4 Both wives and concubines remained or- 
dinarily in close seclusion, and we have little mention 
of them in the Parthian annals. But in one instance 
at any rate, a queen, brought up in the notions of the 
West, succeeded in setting Oriental etiquette at de- 
fiance, took the direction of affairs out of the hands of 
her husband, and subsequently ruled the empire in 
conjunction with her son. 5 Generally, however, the 
Parthian kings were remarkably free from the weak- 
ness of subservience to women, and managed their 
kingdom with a firm hand, without allowing either 
wives or ministers to obtain any undue ascendency 
over them. In particular, we may note that they 
never, so far as appears, fell under the baleful influence 
of eunuchs, who, from first to last, play a very subor- 
dinate part in the Parthian history. 6 

The dress of the monarch was commonly the loose 
Median robe, which had been adopted from the Medes 
by the Persians. This flowed down to the feet in 
numerous folds, enveloping and concealing the entire 

the employment of eunuchs by the 
Parthians. According to him, 

1 Herodian. iv. 19. 

2 Strab. xi. 13, § 1. 

:! Joseph. Ant. Jud. xviii. 2, § 4. eunuchs occupied that" position in 

4 Plut. Crass. § 32, ad Jin. \ the royal harem which is usual in 

5 See above, p. 220. i the East ( Vit. Apott. i. 37), and 
Philostratus is, so far as I | held sometimes the office of satrap 

know, the only writer who mentions ! in the provinces (ib. i. 21). 




figure. 1 Trousers and a tunic were probably worn 
beneath it, the latter of linen, the former of silk or 
wool. As head-dress, the king wore either the mere 
diadem, which was a band or ribbon, passed once or 
oftener round the head, and terminating in two long 
ends which fell down behind, 2 or else a more pre- 
tentious cap, which in the earlier times was a sort of 
Scythian pointed helmet, 8 and in the later a rounded 
tiara, sometimes adorned with pearls or gems. 4 His 
neck appears to have been generally encircled with two 
or three collars or necklaces, and he frequently wore 
ear-rings in his ears. The beard was almost always 
cultivated, and, with the hair, was worn variously. 
Generally both hair and beard were carefully curled ; 
but sometimes they depended in long straight locks. 
Mostly the beard was pointed, but occasionally it 
was worn square. In later times a fashion arose of 
puffing out the hair at either side extravagantly, so 
as to give it the appearance of a large bushy wig. 5 

In war the monarch seems to have exchanged his 
Median robe for a short cloak, reaching half way 
down the thigh. 6 His head was protected by a helmet, 

1 See Justin, xli. 2. The obverse 
of Parthian coins frequently exhi- 
bits the monarch thus apparelled. 

Parthian King, from a coin. 

2 Compare the engravings on pp. 
220, 223, 228, &c. 

3 See above, p. 91. 

4 See the woodcuts on pp. 91 
and 320. 

5 See above, p. 228. 

6 On the obverse of the early 
Parthian coins the monarch is 
usually represented in this attire. 

Ttirthian King, from an early coil 


and lie carriecl the national arm of offence, the bow. 
He usually took the field on horseback, but was some- 
times mounted on an elephant, 1 trained to encounter 
the shock of battle. Gold and silver were abundantly 
used in the trappings of his steed and in his arms. 
He generally took the command, and mingled freely in 
the fight, though he might sometimes shrink without 
reproach from adventuring his own person. 2 His 
guards fought about him ; and he was accompanied 
by attendants, whose duty it was to assist him in 
mounting; on horseback and dismounting. 3 

The status of the queen was not much below that of 
her royal consort. She wore a tiara far more elaborate 
than his, and, like him, exhibited the diadem. Her 
neck was encircled with several necklaces. 4 As the 
title of Theos, ' God,' was often assumed by her hus- 
band, so she was allowed the title of ' Goddess ' (®sa), 
or £ Heavenly Goddess ' (@sa oupavia). 

Separate apartments were of course assigned to the 
queen, and to the royal concubines in the various 
palaces. These were buildings on a magnificent scale, 
and adorned with the utmost richness. Philostratus, 
who wrote in Parthian times, 5 thus describes the royal 
palace at Babylon. ' The palace is roofed with brass, 
and a bright light flashes from it. It has chambers 
for the women, and chambers for the men, and porti- 

1 Supra, p. 410. gases V., and Artabanus, the last 

2 Plut. Anton. § 44. monarch. His life of Apollonius 

3 ' ArafioXtic. See Plut. Crass, of Tyana, which contains the de- 
§ 31. scription given in the text, as well 

4 See the woodcut, p. 220. as other curious information about 

5 Philostratus was born about Parthia, is no doubt an historical 
a.i>. 172, and lived to about a.d. 244, romance; but its local colouring 
or a little later. He was thus con- ! seems intended to be correct, and is 
temporary with the Parthian kings i probably not far from the truth. 
Yolagases III., Volngases IV., Yola- I 


coes, partly glittering with silver, partly with cloth-of- 
gold embroideries, partly with solid slabs of gold, let 
into the walls, like pictures. The subjects of the 
embroideries are taken from the Greek mythology, and 
include representations of Andromeda, of Amymone, 
and of Orpheus, who is frequently repeated .... 
Datis is moreover represented, destroying Naxos with 
his fleet, and Artaphernes besieging Eretria, and Xerxes 
gaining his famous victories. You behold the occu- 
pation of Athens, and the battle of Thermopylae, and 
other points still more characteristic of the great 
Persian war, rivers drunk up and disappearing from 
the face of the earth, and a bridge stretched across the 
sea, and a canal cut through Athos . . . One chamber 
for the men has a roof fashioned into a vault like the 
heaven, composed entirely of sapphires, which are the 
bluest of stones, and resemble the sky in colour. 
Golden images of the gods whom they worship, are 
set up about the vault, and show like stars in the 
firmament. This is the chamber in which the king 
delivers his judgments. Four golden magic-wheels 
hang from its roof, and threaten the monarch with the 
Divine Nemesis, if he exalts himself above the con- 
dition of man. These wheels are called " the tongues 
of the gods," and are set in their places by the Magi 
who frequent the palace.' 1 

The state and pomp which surrounded the monarch 
seem scarcely to have fallen short of the Achaemenian 
standard. Eegarded as in some sort divine during his 
life, and always an object of national worship after his 
death, the ' Brother of the Sun and Moon ' 2 occupied 

1 Philostr., Vit. Apott. Tyan, i. I 2 Amm. Marc, xxiii. G ; p. 397. 
>• I 



a position far above that of the most exalted of his 
subjects. Tributary monarchs were shocked, when, 
in times of misfortune, the ' Great King ' stooped to 
solicit their aid, and appeared before them in the 
character of a suppliant, shorn of his customary 
splendour. 1 Nobles coveted the dignity of ' King's 
Friend,' and were content to submit to blows and 
buffets at the caprice of their royal master, before 
whom they prostrated themselves in adoration after 
each castigation. 2 The Parthian monarch dined in 
solitary grandeur, extended on his own special couch, 
and eating from his own special table, which was 
placed at a greater elevation than those of his guests. 3 
His ' friend ' sat on the ground at his feet, and was fed 
like a dog by scraps from his master's board. Guards* 
ministers, and attendants of various kinds surrounded 
him, and were ready at the slightest sign to do his 
bidding. Throughout the country he had numerous 
' Eyes ' and ' Ears ' 4 — officers who watched his interests 
and sent him word of whatever touched his safety. 
The bed on which the monarch slept was of gold, and 
subjects were forbidden to take their repose on couches 
of this rich material. 5 No stranger could obtain 
access to him unless introduced by the proper officer ; 
and it was expected that all who asked an audience 
would be prepared with some present of high value. 6 
Eor the gifts received the monarch made a suitable 
return, allowing those whom he especially favoured to 
choose the presents that they preferred. 7 

1 See the narrative in Josephus ! 4 Philostrat. Tit. Apoll. Tyan. i. 

{Ant. Jud. xx. 3, §§ 1, 2); and 
compare above, p. 240. 

2 Posidon. ap. Athen. Deipn. iv. 
33; p. 152, F. 

3 Ibid. p. 153, A. 

21 and 28. 

6 Joseph. Ant. Jud. xx. 3, § 3. 

6 Philostrat. Vit. Ap. Tyan. i. 

7 Ibid. i. 34. 


Tlie power and dignity of the Parthian nobles was 
greater than that usually enjoyed by any subjects of an 
Oriental king. Rank in Parthia being hereditary and 
not simply official, the • megistanes ' were no mere 
creatures of the monarch, but a class which stood 
upon its own indefeasible rights. As they had the 
privilege of electing to the throne upon a vacancy, 
and even that of deposing a duly elected monarch, 1 
the king conld not but stand in wholesome awe of 
them, and feel compelled to treat them with con- 
siderable respect and deference. Moreover, they were 
not without a material force calculated to give powerful 
support to their constitutional privileges. Each stood 
at the head of a body of retainers accustomed to bear 
arms and to serve in the wars of the Empire. To- 
gether these bodies constituted the strength of the 
army ; and though the royal body-guard might perhaps 
have been capable of dealing successfully with each 
group of retainers separately, yet such an esprit ole 
corps was sure to animate the nobles generally, that 
they would make common cause in case one of their 
number were attacked, and would support him against 
the crown with the zeal inspired by self-interest. Thus 
the Parthian nobility were far more powerful and 
independent than any similar class under the Achaa- 
nienian, Sassanian, Modern Persian, or Turkish sove- 
reigns. They exercised a real control over the monarch, 
and had a voice in the direction of the Empire. Like 
the great feudal vassals of the Middle Ages, they from 
time to time quarrelled with their liege lord, and dis- 
turbed the tranquillity of the kingdom by prolonged 
and dangerous civil wars ; but these contentions served 

1 See above, p. 80. 
e b 2 


to keep alive a vigour, a life, and a spirit of sturdy 
independence very unusual in the East, and gave a 
stubborn strength to the Parthian monarchy, in which 
Oriental governments have for the most part been 

There were probably several grades of rank among 
the nobles. The highest dignity in the kingdom, next 
to the Crown, was that of Surena, or ' Field-Marshal ; ' 
and this position was hereditary in a particular family, 1 
which can have stood but a little below the royal 
house in wealth and consequence. The head of this 
noble house is stated to have at one time brought into 
the Held as many as 10,000 retainers and slaves, of 
whom a thousand were heavy-armed. 2 It was his 
right to place the diadem on the king's brow at his 
coronation. The other nobles lived for the most part 
on their domains, but took the field at the head of 
their retainers in case of war, and in peace sometimes 
served the offices of satrap, vizier, or royal councillor. 
The wealth of the class was great ; 3 its members were 
inclined to be turbulent, and, like the barons of the 
European kingdoms, acted as a constant check and 
counterpoise to the royal dignity. 

Next to war, the favourite employment of the king 
and of the nobles was hunting. 4 The lion continued in 
the wild state an occupant of the Mesopotamian river- 
banks and marshes ; 5 and in other parts of the empire 

1 Plut. Crass. § 21. Kara yevog j wives and concubines. In a less 
fxiv ovv Y£ dpxnQ ik'uctt)to (3a<n\u degree, it appears also in the case 
yivon'tviij IldpOiov i.niTiQkvai rb did- of the Mithridates attacked by 
cyn'a irptoTov. Anilai. (See above, p. 242.) 

2 Ibid, l.s.c. 4 See Philostr. Vit. Ap. Tyan. i. 

3 This appears especially in the j 22 and 38 ; Joseph. Ant. Jud. xviii. 
case of the officer employed against 2, § 4 ; Justin, xli. 5 ; Suet. Caii 
Crassus, who was attended in the . Vit. § 5. 

Held by 200 litters containing his I 5 Philostr. i. 22. 


bears, leopards, and oven tigers abounded. 1 Thus the 
higher kinds of sport were readily obtainable. The 
ordinary practice, however, of the monarch and his 
courtiers seems to have fallen short of the true sports- 
man's ideal. Instead of seeking the more dangerous 
kinds of wild beasts in their native haunts, and en- 
gaging with them under the conditions designed by 
nature, the Parthians were generally content with a 
poorer and tamer method. They kept lions, leopards, 
and bears in enclosed parks, or ' paradises,' and found 
pleasure in the pursuit and slaughter of these de- 
naturalised and half-domesticated animals. 2 The em- 
ployment may still, even under these circumstances, 
have contained an element of danger which rendered 
it exciting ; but it was a poor substitute for the true 
sport which the ' mighty Hunter before the Lord ' 3 
had first practised in these regions. 

The ordinary dress of the Parthian noble was a 
long loose robe reaching to the feet, 4 under which he 
wore a vest and trousers. 5 Bright and varied colours 
were affected, and sometimes dresses were interwoven 
or embroidered with gold. In seasons of festivity 
garlands of fresh flowers were worn upon the head. 7 
A long knife or dagger was carried at all times, 8 
which might be used either as an implement or as a 

1 The tiger has always been a I 3 Gen. x. 9. 
native of Hyrcania and the low 4 Justin, xli. ii. 'Vestis perlu- 
tract south oi' the Caspian. Bears j cida et nuida.' Cf. Herodian. iv. 
have always inhabited Mount Za- ^0. 

gros, while leopards abound in 

2 Philostr. i. 38. Gr'ipia ptfiaaa- 
vKTfjizva icai Tictpa ti)v (pvciv ri\v iavruiv 

3 Lucian. De conscrib. hist. §19. 

c Herodian. l.s.c. 

7 Ibid. 

8 Joseph. Ant. Jud. xviii. 2, § 4. 

Maxatfjofoptlv tOog uTraaiv. 


In the earlier period of the empire the Parthian was 
noted as a spare liver ; * but, as time went on, he aped 
the vices of more civilised peoples, and became an in- 
discriminate eater 2 and a hard drinker. 3 Game formed 
a main portion of his diet ; 4 but he occasionally indulged 
in pork, 5 and probably in other sorts of butcher's meat. 
He ate leavened bread with his meat, and various kinds 
of vegetables. 6 The bread, which was particularly light 
and porous, seems to have been imported sometimes by 
the Romans, who knew it as panis aquaticus or panis 
ParthicusJ Dates were also consumed largely by the 
Parthians, 8 and in some parts of the country grew to 
an extraordinary size. A kind of wine was made from 
them ; and this seems to have been the intoxicating 
drink in which the nation generally indulged too 
freely. 9 That made from the dates of Babylon was the 
most highly esteemed, and was reserved for the use of 
the king and the higher order of satraps. 30 

Of the Parthian feasts, music was commonly an ac- 
companiment. The flute, the pipe, the drum, and the 
instrument called sambuca, appear to have been known 
to them ; n and they understood how to combine these 
instruments in concerted harmony. They are said to 

1 Justin, xli. 3, ad fin. ' In cibo as to the later period of the Empire 
parcus.' from Philostratus (Vit. Ap. Tyan. 

2 Pliny, H.N. xi. 53. i. 21). 

3 Ibid. xiv. 22. According to r ° Philostr. l.s.c. 
Pliny, the Parthians of his time ! 6 Ibid, 

(a.d. 50-70) ate and drank so im- 7 Plin. H.N. xviii. 11. 

moderately as to render their breath 8 Philostr. l.s.c. 

unpleasant. To remedy this defect, i rj Compare Plin. H.N. xiv. 16 

the nobles were in the habit of ! with Philostr. Vit. Ap. Tyan. i. 21 ; 

munching- the pips of citrons {H.N. ' p. 27. 

xi. 53 ; xii. 3). i 10 Philostr. l.s.c. 

4 Justin says — 'Carne non nisi I n Herodian.iv.20; Athen. Deipn. 
venatibus qua?sita vescuntur ' , xiv. 8. 

(l.s.c.) j but we must correct him , 



have closed their feasts with dancing — an amusement 
of which they were inordinately fond * — but this was 
probably the case only with the lower class of people. 
Dancing in the East, if not associated with religion, is 
viewed as degrading, and, except as a religious exer- 
cise, is not indulged in by respectable persons. 

The separation of the sexes was very decided in 
Parthia. The women took their meals, and passed the 
greater portion of their life, apart from the men. 2 
Veils were commonly worn, as in modern Mohammedan 
countries ; and it was regarded as essential to female 
delicacy that women, whether married or single, should 
converse freely with no males but either their near 
relations or eunuchs. Adultery was punished with 
great severity ; 3 but divorce was not difficult, and 
women of rank released themselves from the nuptial 
bond on light grounds of complaint, without much 
trouble. 4 Polygamy was the established law; and 
every Parthian was entitled, besides his chief wife, to 
maintain as many concubines as he thought desirable. 5 
Some of the nobles supported an excessive number ; 6 
but the expenses of the seraglio prevented the gene- 
rality from taking much advantage of the indulgence 
which the law permitted. 

The degree of refinement and civilisation which the 
Parthians reached is difficult to determine with accu- 
racy. In mimetic art their remains certainly do not 
show much taste or sense of beauty. 7 There is some 

1 Philostr. l.s.c. 

a Justin, xli. 3. ' Feminis non 
convivia tantum virorum, veruni 
€tiam conspectimi interdicunt.' 

3 Justin, l.s.c. ' Nee ulla delicta 
adulterio gravius vindicant.' 

4 See the story told by Josephus, 
Ant. Jud. xviii. 9, § 6. 

5 Justin, xli. 3, ad init. ' Uxores 
. . . singuli plures habent' 

* Plut. Crass. § 21. 
7 See above, p. 39G. 



[Cn. XXIII. 

ground to believe that their architecture had merit ; 
but the existing monuments can scarcely be taken as 
representations of pure Parthian work, and may have 
owed their excellence (in some measure, at any rate) 
to foreign influence. Still, the following particulars, for 
which there is good evidence, seem to imply that the 
nation had risen in reality far above that ' barbarism ' 
which it was the fashion of the Greek and Eoman 
writers to ascribe to it. In the first place, the Parthians 
had a considerable knowledge of foreign languages. 
Plutarch tells us that Orodes, the opponent of Crassus, 
was acquainted with the Greek language and litera- 
ture, and could enjoy the representation of a play of 
Euripides. 1 The general possession of such knowledge, 
at any rate by the kings and the upper classes, seems 
to be implied by the use of the Greek letters and 
language in the legends upon coins and in inscriptions. 
Other languages were also to some extent cultivated. 
The later kings almost invariably placed a Semitic 
legend upon their coins ; and there is one instance of a 
Parthian prince adopting an Arian legend of the type 
known as Bactrian. 2 Joseph us, moreover, regarded 
the Parthians as familiar with Hebrew, or Syro- 
Chaldaic, and wrote his history of the Jewish War in 
his own native tongue, before he put out his Greek 
version, for the benefit especially of the Parthians, 
among whom he declares that he had many readers. 3 

Though the Parthians had, so far as we can tell, no 
native literature, yet writing was familiar to them, and 
was widely used in matters of business. Not only were 

1 Plut. Crass. § 32. 

2 See Num. Chron. vi. 

p. 104: 

Lindsay, History and Coinage, &c., 
p. 208 ; and, for the Bactrian writ- 

ing, compare Wilson, Ariana Anii- 
qua, plates. 

3 Bell. Jud. Proem. § 1 and § 2. 


negotiations carried on with foreign powers by means 
of despatches, 1 but the affairs of the empire generally 
were conducted by writing. A custom-house system 
was established along the frontier, and all commodities 
liable to duty that entered the country were registered 
in a book 2 at the time of entry by the custom-house 
officer. In the great cities where the Court passed a 
portion of the year, account was kept of the arrival of 
strangers, whose names and descriptions were placed 
upon record by the keepers of the gates." The orders 
of the Crown were signified in writing to the satraps ; 4 
and they doubtless corresponded with the Court in the 
same way. In the earlier times the writing material 
commonly used was linen ; but shortly before the time 
of Pliny, the Parthians began to make paper from the 
papyrus, which grew in the neighbourhood of Babylon, 
though they still employed in preference the old 
material. 5 

There was a considerable trade between Parthia and 
Koine, carried on by means of a class of merchants. 
Parthia imported from Eome various metals, and 
numerous manufactured articles of a high class. Her 
principal exports were textile fabrics and spices. 7 The 
textile fabrics seem to have been produced chiefly in 
Babylonia, and to have consisted of silks, carpets, and 

1 See above, p. 412. I sense of ettigtoXuc; ■k'ep.ttuv con- 

2 Philostr. Vit. Ap. Tyan. i. 20. I stantly. Compare iv. 18. iiriorkXkti 

3 Ibid. i. 27, ad fin. "HpETO j Tip (3a<n\u IlapQvaiwv . ... tci Ss 
uVOfld te avTOVf teal o ~L ettittjoevioVj \ ypap,p.aTa tXtyev. iv.21. t7riuTEXX(i 
h-ai o tl tpoiT&v ; rat a-oypa\pap:Evo£ [ tij avyK\))~(i). v. 1. t7ni7Ts\\ei Tip 
ravra tt; ypajJUCiTuov, <rro/\»)v te ; te Ci'ip<>> 'Po^uruW icai r-p GvyK\rjTc>) 
(tu-uv Kai (icnc f ekeXvoi' piv 7TEpipE~ivai | . . . civayvio9Ei(Trjg ce tt}q ToiavTrjg 
keXevei. ; £7rtcroX>/c. 

4 Herodian. iii. 1. 'O tie UapQvcuoq j 5 Plin. II.N. xiii. 11, ad fin. 
iiri<TTE\Elv E<pi] to7q aaTpctTraiQ.l 6 Herodian. iv. 18. Al Ifnropiov. 

Herodian uses ettkjteXXeiv in the 7 Ibid. 



[Ch. XXIII. 


The silks were largely used by the Eoman 
ladies. 2 The coverlets, which Avere patterned with 
various colours, fetched enormous prices, and were 
regarded as fit adornments of the Imperial palace. 3 
Among the spices exported, the most celebrated were 
bdellium, and the juncus odoratus or odoriferous 
bulrush. 4 

The Parthians had many liberal usages which imply 
a fairly advanced civilisation. Their tolerance of 
varieties in religion has been already mentioned. 5 
Even in political matters they seem to have been free 
from the narrowness which generally characterises 
barbarous nations. They behaved well to prisoners, 6 
admitted foreigners freely to offices of high trust, 7 gave 
an asylum to refugees, and treated them with respect 
and kindness, 8 were scrupulous observers of their pledged 
word, 9 and eminently faithful to their treaty obliga- 
tions. 10 On the other hand, it must be admitted that 
they had some customs which indicate a tinge of bar- 
barism. They used torture for the extraction of 

1 Compare Plin. ILK. viii. 48 ; 
xi. 22, 23 ; and Athen. Deipn. v. p. 
197. Strabo's statement that Bor- 
sippa was in his day ' a great staple 
of the linen trade' (Xivovytiov py«, 
xvi. i. § 7) is also an indication that 
manufactures flourished under the 

2 Plin. ILK. xi. 23. The use of 
silk in Parthia is noted as early as 
B.C. 54, when the flags attached to 
their standards are said to have been 
made of it (Florus, iii. 11). 

3 Plin. U.N. viii. 48. 

4 Ibid. xii. 9 ; xxi. 18. 
Supra, p. 400. 

6 Euseb. Chron. Can. i. 40, § 18, 
ad fin. 

7 Note, as instances, the employ- 
ment of Labienus in high command 

(supra, p. 187) and the satrapial 
dignity of the Jews, Asinai and 
Anilai (Joseph. Ant. Jud. xviii. 9, 
§§ 4-7). 

8 Dio Cass, xlviii. 24; Joseph. 
Bell. Jud. vii. 7, § 2. 

9 Joseph. Ant. Jud. xviii. 9, § 3. 
01) y.ap av -fytvoaiTo Tig dt£,iu)V vtt' 
avrov SoatiijQ yevofikvrfg. 

10 The opposite statement of Jus- 
tin (' Fides dictis promissisque nulla 
nisi quatenus expedit,' xli. 3, ad 
fin.), and the sneer of Horace 
(' Parthis mendacior,' Ep. I. ii. 112) 
are contradicted by the whole tenor 
of Parthian history, and must be 
considered as merely parallel to the 
charges of ' Punic perfidy/ alleged 
by Livy and others. 



answers from reluctant persons, 1 employed the scourge 
to punish trifling offences, 2 and, in certain cases, con- 
descended to mutilate the bodies of their dead ene- 
mies.'" 5 Their addiction to intemperance is also a 
barbaric trait. They were, no doubt, on the whole, 
less civilised than either the Greeks or Eomans ; but 
the difference does not seem to have been so great as 
represented by the classical writers. 

Speaking broadly, the position that they occupied 
was somewhat similar to that which the Turks hold in 
the system of modern Europe. They had a military 
strength which caused them to be feared and respected, 
a vigour of administration 4 which was felt to imply 
many sterling qualities. A certain coarseness and 
rudeness attached to them which they found it impos- 
sible to shake off; and this drawback was exaggerated 
by their rivals into an indication of irreclaimable bar- 
barity. Except in respect of their military prowess, it 
may be doubtful if justice is done them by any classical 
writer. They were not merely the sole rival which 
dared to stand up against Borne in the interval between 
B.C. 65 and a.d. 226, but they were a rival falling in 
many respects very little below the great power whose 
glories have thrown them so much into the shade. 
They maintained from first to last a freedom unknown 
to later Eome ; they excelled the Eomans in toleration 
and in liberal treatment of foreigners, they equalled 
them in manufactures and in material prosperity, and 
they fell but little short of them in the extent and 

1 Pliilostr. Fit. Ap. Txjan. i. 21. 

2 Posid. ap. Athen. Deipn. iv. 13; 
152, F. 

3 Plut. Crass. § 31. 

* Compare the remarks of Strabo 

— aiTicg d' 6 fiiog avTuJv Kai rd 
tQrj to. t\ovra irohv ptv to fiap(3apo2> 
Kai to HkvBikov, p.kvTOi to 
Xpi^aifiov npbg ?}y t [io viav, xi. 

9, §2. 


productiveness of their dominions. They were the se- 
cond power in the world for nearly three centuries, and 
formed a counterpoise to Borne which greatly checked 
Roman decline, and, by forcing the Empire to exert 
itself, prevented stagnation and corruption. 

It must, however, be confessed, that the tendency of 
the Parthians was to degenerate. Although the final 
blow was struck in an unexpected quarter, and perhaps 
surprised the victors as much as the vanquished, still it 
is apparent that for a considerable space before the 
revolt of Artaxerxes the Parthian Empire had shown 
signs of failing strength, and had tended rapidly towards 
decay and ruin. The constant quarrels among the 
Arsacidai and the incipient disintegration of the Empire 
have been noticed. 1 It may be added here that a 
growing barbarism, a decline in art and letters is ob- 
servable in the Parthian remains, such as have usually 
been found to accompany the decrepitude of a nation. 
The coinage has from first to last a somewhat rude 
character, which indicates that it is native, and not the 
production of Greek artists. 2 But on the earlier coins 
the type, though not indicative of high art, is respect- 
able, and the legends are, with few exceptions, 3 per- 
fectly correct and classical. Barbarism first creeps in 

1 See above, pp. 368, 369. barous ones native. But the best 

2 Eckhel thought that the entire : authorities seem now convinced 
series of tetradrachms was Greek I that (excepting a few tetradrachms 
and not Parthian, being- the issue of Mithridates I. ; see p. 69) the 
of the semi-independent Greek | coins are all, in the strictest sense, 
towns in the Parthian dominions ' Parthian. 

(Doctr. Num. Vet. vol. iii. pp. 549, 
•"350). M. Lenormant, in his work 
on the early Parthian coins, went 
further, and maintained (p. 3) that 
all the good coins were of Greek 
workmanship, and only the bar- 

3 E.g. Aril^AlNOYS appears for 
EIII$AN0T2 on a coin ascribed to 
Mithridates I. (Lindsay, p. 166) ; 
1IAKOPV for n.AKOPOT on coins of 
Orodes I. (ib. p. 170), &c. 



about the reign of Gotarzes, 1 A.D. 42-51. It increases 
as time goes on, until, from about a.d. 133, the Greek 
Legend upon the coins becomes indistinct and finally 
unintelligible, the letters being strewn about the surface 
of I he coin, like dead soldiers over a field of battle. It 
is clear that the later directors of the mint were com- 
pletely ignorant of Greek, and merely attempted to 
reproduce on the coin some semblance of a language 
which neither they nor their countrymen understood. 
Such a condition of a coinage is almost without parallel, 
and indicates a want of truth and honesty in the conduct 
of affairs which implies deep-seated corruption. The 
Parthians must have lost the knowledge of Greek about 
a.d. 130, yet still a pretence of using the language was 
kept up. On the tetradrachms — comparatively rare 
coins — no important mistake was committed ; but on 
the more usual drachm, from the time of Gotarzes, the 
most absurd errors were introduced, and thenceforth 
perpetuated. 2 The old inscription was, in a certain 
sense, imitated, but every word of it ceased to be 
legible : the old figures disappeared in an indistinct 
haze, and — if we except the head and name of the king 
(written now in a Semitic character) — the whole embla- 
zonment of the coin became unmeaning. A degeneracy 
less marked, but still sufficiently clear to the numis- 

1 The famous legend of Gotarzes, 
which should have run (as is sup- 
posed) P12TUPZH2 BA2IAEY2 
under the form of rQTEPZHl' 
(Lindsay, p. 153). 

2 Among these, one of the most 
remarkable is the corruption of the 

family title APEAK OY (Arsaces) 
into a form which is either actually 
or nearly APIANOY, a geographical 
or ethnic appellative. Other errors 
merely orthographic, are the sub- 
stitution of X for K in AIKAIOY, 
which, from the time of Phraates 
IV., is almost uniformly written 
AIXAIOY : of X for N in #IAEAAH- 
NG2, which is often written 
cMAEAAHXOX, and the like. 


matic critic, is observable in the heads of the kings, 
which, in the earlier times, if a little coarse, are striking 
and characteristic ; while in the later they sink to a 
conventional type, rudely and poorly rendered, and so 
uniform that the power of distinguishing one sovereign 
from another rests no longer upon feature, but upon 
mere differences in the arrangement of hair, or beard, 
or head-dress. 



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ABDAGESES, 21, 23, 234, 2:57 
Ahdus. 21,230 

Abgarua I., king of Osrhoene, re- 
ceived into alliance by Pompey, 
151 ; brought over to his side by 
Orodea, ib. ; pretends to help 
Crassus, 157; services which he 
rendered to the Tarthians, 162- 

Abgarua II. , king of Osrhoene, em- 
braces professedly the cause of 
Meherdatea, 257 ; advises him ill, 
ib. ; deserts him, 258 

Abgarua III., 295, 302, 307 

Abgarua IV., king of Osrhoene, sub- 
mits to Severus, 339 ; summoned 
to Rome by Caracallus, 350 ; de- 
prived of his dominions, ib. 

Achseua, 54 

Adenystrse, 310 

Adhem, R., 346 

Adiabene, a Parthian kingdom, 87 ; 
position and extent of, 140 ; taken 
from Parthia by Tigranea, ib. ; 
recovered by Parthia, 145: go- 
verned by Izates, 246, 253; in- 
vaded by Meherdates, 257 ; 
threatened by Volagases L, 265 ; 
falls under the government of 
Monobazua, 266 • attacked by 
Tigranea II., 271; attacked by 
Trajan, 310 ; made a Roman pro- 
vince, 314; relinquished by Ha- 
drian, 316; people of, assist re- 
volted Mesopotamians against 
Rome, 336 ; overrun by Severus, 
337 ; recovered by Volagases IV., 
338; reconquered" by the Romans, 
346; traversed by "Caracallus on 
his retreat. 356 

Adiabenicus, a title assumed by Seve- 

Adriatic Sea, 282-3 

P F 


Adule, inscription of, 47 n. 

Afghanistan, included in the empire 
of Alexander, 60 ; partially Hel- 
lenised, ib. ; conquered by the 
Bactrians, 62, 115; invaded by 
Scyths, 118, 124 

Afranias, 145 

Agathocles, 70 n. 

Ahriman, 398 

Ak-Su, R., 115 

Alabanda, 189 

Alani, their geographical position, 
291 n. ; meaning of their name,ib. ; 
invade Media, 291 ; enter Arme- 
nia, 292 ; attack Rome and Parthia, 
320 ; peace with them purchased 
by the Parthians, 321 

Alarodii, 126 (see Urarda) 

Alatagh, M., 4, 6 

Albanians, 232, 306 

Albinus (see Clodius) 

Alchaudonius, 151-2 

Alexander Balas, 81 

Alexander the Great, empire of, 29 ; 
' successors ' of, ib. ; system of, 30 ; 
colonies founded by, 45, 88 ; sub- 
mission of Armenia to, 129; his 
expedition against the Getce, 117; 
Parthian kings considered them- 
selves his representatives, 229 

Alexander, son of Pompey, 206-7 

Alexander, a prophet, 324 

Alexandria, 205, 288 

Amanus, M., 105, 180, 190 

Amminapes, 21, 23 

Amyntas, 71 n. 

Anchialus, king of Heniochi, 306 

Andragoras, 43 

Anilai, 241-244 

Annap, meaning of, 23 

Anthemusia, 307 

Anthemusias, 152 n. 

Antialcidas, 71 n. 




Antigonua (Maced.) 31, 32, 34 

Antigonua of Judcea, 188-191 

Antimachus, 70 n. 

Antioeh, ill-suited by position for 
the capital of the Seleucid king- 
dom, 35 : taken by Ptolemy Euer- 
getes, 47 ; defended against the 
Parthiana by Cassius, 179, 180; 
submits to the Parthians, 187; 
recovered by Home, 190 ; made 
his head-quarters by Trajan, 302 ; 
who winters there after his first 
Parthian campaign, 308 ; great 
earthquake at, 308; Verus at, 
326 ; Caracallua at, 351 

Antioeh us, a Cynic philosopher, 351 n. 

Antiochus I. of Commagene, friendly 
to the Parthian prince Pacorus, 
191 n.\ his daughter married to 
Orodes, 195 n. ; murder of his 
grandsons, by Phraates IV., 195, 
198 n. 

Antiochus II. of Commagene, 
ordered by Home to assist Corbulo, 
267 ; required by Corbulo to in- 
vade Armenia, 209 ; given a por- 
tion of Armenia, 270 . 

Antiochus I., of Syria, 37 

Antiochus II., of Syria, 38, 41 

— Hierax, 48, 52 

Antiochus the Great, of Syria, his 
war with Achseus, 54 ; his domin- 
ions attacked by Artabanus I., ib. ; 
his great Parthian expedition, 55- 
57 ; he consents to peace, 57 ; his 
attack on Bactria, 58 ; his peace 
with Euthydemus, ib. n. ; he quits 
the East, 59 ; his defeat by Rome 
at Magnesia, 129 ; Armenia revolts 
from him, ib. 

Antiochus Epiphanes, of Syria, suc- 
ceeds Seleucus IV., 71 ; his war 
with Ptolemy V., ib. ; his Jewish 
war, 72 ; he subjugates Armenia, 

Antiochus V. (Eupator), 73 

Antiochus Sidetes, of Syria, becomes 
king on the capture of Demetrius 
Nicator by the Parthians, 97 ; his 
war with Tryphon, ib. ; his war 
with the Jews, 98; his great 
Parthian expedition, 98-104; his 
death, 105 

Antoninus Pius, becomes emperor, 

321 ; refuses to restore the golden 
throne, 322 ; deters Volagases III. 
from war by a letter, 323; dies, 
i Antony, Mark, his triumvirate, 18G ; 
his passion for Cleopatra, 187 ; his 
exactions, ib. ; his lieutenant, 
Ventidius, defeats the Parthians, 
189 ; Antonv jealous, 199 ; his 
Parthian expedition, 200-204 ; its 
complete failure, 205 ; his alliance 
with Artavasdes of Media, and 
second invasion of Armenia, 206; 
his third invasion of Armenia, 
207 ; he quits the East for his 
final contest with Octavian, ib. 

Apamsea, 180, 187 193 

Apameia, 152 n. 

Aparni, 17, 118 

Apavarctica, 53 n. 

Apavortene, 53 n. 

Apraetseus, 22 

Arabs, 105 ; Scenite, 158, 238 n. 

Arachosia, 33, 79 

Arachosians, 71 

Arakha, 128 n. 

Ararat, M., 126 

Araxes, R., separated Armenia from 
Media Atropatene, 203 ; crossed 
by Antony on his retreat, 204; 
again crossed by Antony, 207 

Arbela, the Parthians at, 28 ; the 
Armenians after, 129 ; perhaps the 
scene of conflict between Gotarzes 
and Meherdates, 258 n.\ royal 
tombs at, destroyed by Caracallua, 

Arbelitis, 140 

Archelaus, king of Cappadocia, 270 

Architecture of the Parthians, 371- 

Ard ashes, 130 

Arghistis, king of Armenia, 126 n. 

Aria, adjoined Parthia Proper on the 
east, il ; united with Parthia in 
the inscriptions of Darius Hystas- 
pis, 15 ; formed a part of the same 
satrapy, 27 ; included in the em- 
pire of Seleucus, 33 ; a province of 
the Parthian empire from the time 
of Mithridates L, 79 

Ariana, 117 

Allans, comprised in the sixteenth 
satrapy of Darius, 16 ; their ethnic 




character, 21 ; mention of them 
in the < Zendaveata,' 22; attacked 
by the Scythians, 117 
Ariobarzanes, driven out of Cappa- 
docia by Mithridatea of Pontus, 
134 ; re-established bv Sulla, ib. ; 
a 'puppet-king,' 142; receives 
Gordyene* from Pompey, L46j re- 
mains faithful to Rome, 179 
Aristobulus, son of Herod, king of 

Chakis, 267 »., 270 
Aristonicus, 132 
Anus, R., 12, 69 

Armenia, early history of, 125-129; 
comprised m the empire of Se- 
leucus, 32 ; rich in horses, 33 ; re- 
volts from Antiochus the Great, 
129; reduced by Antiochus Epi- 
phanes, 72 ; again revolts and be- 
comes independent, 130 ; attacked 
by Mithridatea II., 131; brings 
Home into connection with Par- 
thia, 134 ; becomes powerful under 
Tigranes I., 140; takes territory 
from Parthia, ib. ; threatens Sana- 
trceces, 141 ; attacked by Phraatea 
III., 143 ; peace made, 147 ; at- 
tacked by Mithridatea II L, loses 
territory, ib. ; in alliance with 
Crassus, 151, 155; attacked by 
Orodes, 158; peace made, 174; 
becomes dependent on Parthia, 
176 ; enters into alliance with An- 
tony, 198; becomes the basis of 
Antony's operations against Par- 
thia, 201 ; deserts him in his diffi- 
culties, 202 ; but shelters his army 
on its return, 204 ; severely pun- 
ished by Antony, 206 ; forms alli- 
ance with Parthia, 207; falls 
again under Roman influence, 
212 ; takes offence at its treatment 
by Rome, and becomes a subject 
ally of Parthia, 213 ; again sub- 
mits to Rome, 219; takes as king 
the Parthian refugee, Vonones, 
224; expela him, ib. ; claimed by 
Artabanus III. for his son, Orodes, 
ib. ; settled as a Reman depend- 
ency by Germanicus, 220; sud- 
denly occupied by Artabanus, 228; 
occupied by Pharasmanes of Iberia 
and placed under his brother, 
Mithridatea, 232; claimed by 


Vardanea I., 252 ; traversed by the 
army of Meherdatea, 257 ; seized 
by Volagaaea I., and given to his 
brother, Tiridates, 264 ; recovered 
by Rhadamistus, the son of Pha- 
rasmanes, ib. ; again placed under 
Tiridates by ' Volagaaea, 266 ; re- 
covered to Rome by Corbulo, 270 ; 
invaded once more by Volagaaea, 
273 ; evacuated by both the 
Romans and the Parthiana, ib. ; 
reoccupied by Cseaennius Psetua, 
275 ; again recovered by Volagaaea, 
277 ; finally placed under Tiridates, 
with the consent of Rome, 281- 
284 ; invaded by the Alani, 292 ; 
given by Pacorua to his son, Exe- 
darea, 299; disputed between Tra- 
jan and Chosroes, 301-304; taken 
by Trajan, and made a Roman 
province, 306; relinquished by 
Hadrian, 316; placed under Par- 
thamaapatea, ib.; solicited by 
Niger, 388; aubmits to Severus, 
339; receivea a king from Arta- 
banus IV., 367; opposes Arta- 
xerxea after Artabanus' death, ib. ; 
defeata him, but is in turn forced 
to aubmit, ib. 
Armenia Magna, 125, 129 
Armenia Minor, conquered by Mith- 
ridatea of Pontus, 133; pasaes 
under Tigranea of Armenia 
Magna, 140; becomes a Roman 
dependency, 226; assigned to 
Aristobulus, son of Herod of 
Chalcis, 267 n. ; enlarged, 270 
Arms of Parthiana, 161 
Arrian, governor of Cappadocia, 321 
Arsaces, a name assumed by all the 

Parthian kings, 45 
Arsaces I., of Parthia, different ac- 
counts of his origin, 42, 43 ; date 
of his revolt, 44 ; his reign short 
and troubled, 45 ; his death, ib. 
Arsaces (Arshag) of Armenia, 130 
Arsaces, son of Artabanus III., 224 
n. ; made king of Armenia, 228; 
murdered by his attendants, 232 ; 
had probably some other name, 
228 n. 
Arsamosata, 276 
Arsanias, R., 276 
Arshita, 128 n. 




Art, ornamental, of the Parthians, 

Artabauus I., ascends the Parthian 
throne, 54; invades Media, ib. ; 
driven back by Antiochus the 
Great, 55 ; attacked in his own 
country, 5(5 ; defends himself gal- 
lantly, 57 : makes peace, ib. ; suc- 
ceeded by Priapatius, 59 

Artabauus II., son of Priapatius, 
ascends the throne, 111 ; dangers 
to which he was exposed, 112- 
121 ; he attacks the Tochari, 121 j 
fells in battle, 122 

Artabauus III. grew up among the 
Dahre, 228 : becomes king of 
Media Atropatene, ib. ; elected 
king of Parthia, ib. ; his embassy 
to Tiberius, 224 ; his negotiations 
with Germanicus, 227; coin of, 
228; he seizes Armenia, and 
makes his son, Arsaces, king, ib. ; 
his cruelties, 229 ; conspiracy 
against him, 230 ; his war with 
Pharasmanes of Iberia, 231-233 ; 
his first expulsion from his king- 
dom, 284 ; his return and triumph 
over Tiridates, 237 ; his interview 
with Vitellius, 238 ; his peace with 
Pome, 239 ; his dealings with 
Asinai and Anilai, 241 ; his 
second expulsion from his king- 
dom, 24G ; his second restoration, 
247 ; his death, 248 

Artabauus, son of Artabanus III., 

Artabanus, supposed reign of, 285 ; 
perhaps held the sovereignty of 
the Eastern provinces, 280 ; men- 
tioned bv Zonaras as king of Par- 
thia (in a.d. 79), 296 n. 

Artabanus IV., son of Volagases IV., 
contends with his brother Vola- 
gases V. for the Parthian throne, 
848; acknowiedged by Rome as 
sole king, 349; receives an embassy 
from Caracallus, 351 ; replies to it 
negatively, 853 ; receives another, 
and accepts the overtures, ib. ; 
treacherousty attacked by Caracal- 
lus, 354 ; attacks the Romans in 
return, 357 ; refuses the offers of 
Macrinus,358; attacks him nearNi- 
sibis, ib. ; gains a great battle, 3G0; 


makes peace on terms honourable 
to Parthia, ib. ; neglects to suppress 
the revolt of Artaxerxes, 366; at- 
tacks him after he has grown 
powerful, but is defeated and 
slain, 367 ; establishes his brother 
during his lifetime as king of Ar- 
menia, ib. ; leaves sons, ib. 

Artanes, 140 

Artavasdes I., of Armenia, son of 
Tigranes the Great, 151 ; offers 
his aid to Crassus, 154 n. ; at- 
tacked by Orodes, 158 ; makes 
peace, 174; his knowledge of 
Greek, 175 ; makes alliance with 
Antony, 198 ; aids him, 200 ; de- 
serts him, 202 ; seized by Antony, 
206 ; carried into Egypt, 207 

Artavasdes II., of Armenia, 212 

Artavasdes of Media, 205, 206 

Artavasdes, acknowledged as king by 
the Parthians after the death of 
Artabanus IV., 367 ; coin of, ib. n. 

Artaxata, 144 ; visited by Germani- 
cus, 225; derivation of the word, 
226 n. ; taken by Vologases I., 264; 
Tiridates made king at, 206 ; re- 
taken bv Romans, 270 ; destroyed, 

Artaxerxes, son of Sassan, 90; re- 
volts, 865; establishes his inde- 
pendence, 306; conquers Carma- 
ni.i, ib. ; establishes the New 
Persian Empire. 368 

Artaxiasl., 72, 129 

Artaxias II., 206-208 ; death of, 212 

Artaxias III. (see Zeno) 

Artemita, 235 

Asia Minor, 30, 32, 283 

Asiani or Asii, 118 

Asinai, 241, 242 

Asmona?an princes, 188 

Aspasiacre, 48 

Aspionus, 75 

Assyria, 82, 47, 79 

Assyrians, 26 ; war with Armenians, 
126, 127 

Asterabad, 63 

Atak, 7, 8 

Atargetis, temple of, 154 n. 

Atropatene, king of, at war with 
AntiochusTheus, 38 ; king of, sub- 
mits to Tigranes, 140 ; country of, 
sometimes under Parthia, 87 ; 




subject to Phraates IV., 201 v. ; 
attacked by Antony, 201; its 
capital, Praaspa, besieged, 202; 
siege raised, 203 ; whole country 
evacuated, 204 ; enters into alli- 
ance with Rome, 20(5 ; invaded by 
Phraates IV., and forced once more 
to submit to Parthia, 207; con- 
signed by Yolagases I. to his 
brother, Pacorus (P), 202 n. ; in- 
vaded by the Alani, 291 ; again 
attacked' bv them, 320 
Atropates, 206 
Attalus III., 132, 142 
Attasii, 118 

Attidius Cornelianus, 325 
Augustus, places Herod on the Jew- 
ish throne, 191 ; his dealings with 
Phraates IV., 209 ; his disinclina- 
tion to extend the dominions of 
Borne, 210; he sends Tiberius to 
arrange the East, 212; he inter- 
feres by arms in Armenia, ib. ; 
sends Caius to the East, 214 ; ne- 
gotiates with Phraataces, 218; 
allows Vonones to return to Par- 
thia from Rome, 222 ; succeeded 
by Tiberius, 225 ; his example fol- 
lowed by Claudius, 25G 
Aurelius, M., succeeds Antoninus 
Pius, 324; sends Verus to the 
East, 325 ; makes Avidius Cassius 
generalissimo, 327; assumes title of 
Medicus, 328 ; threatened by civil 
war, 331 ; crushes the rebellion, 
ib. ; dies, and is succeeded by 
Commodus, 332 
Avidius Cassius, 173, 176, 325 ; his 
Parthian expedition, 327, 328 ; his 
revolt from M. Aurelius, 331 
Axidares (see Exedares) 
Azof, Sea of, 291 
Azotus, 98 


ABYLON, government of, as- 
signed to Seleucus, 31 ; passes 
under Antigonus, ib. ; recovered 
by Seleucus, 32 ; at first made his 
capital, 34 ; Seleucia preferred to 
it, ib. ; taken by Ptolemy Euer- 
getes, 47 ; relinquished, ib. ; sub- 
mits to Mithridates I. of Parthia, 
77 : taken by Antiochus Sidetes, 

100; recovered by Phraates II, 
105 ; entrusted by him to Himerus, 
108 ; supports 'Mithridates III. 
against Orodes, 149; Jewish ele- 
ment in its population, 243; the 
Jews there set upon, 244; they 
quit the city, ib. ; city taken by 
Trajan, 311 ; by Severus, 340 
Babylonia, 33, 79,356 
Babylonians, submit to Mithridates 
I., 77 ; ill-used by Himerus, 112, 
n. ; harassed by Anilai, 243 ; ad- 
verse to the Jews of Babylon, 244 ; 
massacre great numbers of them, ib. 
Bacasis, 21, 70 
Bacchne of Euripides, acted before 

Orodes I. and Artavasdes, 175 
Bactria, 10, J 5, 33 ; conquered by 
Cyrus, 20 ; revolt of, 40 ; attacked 
by Antiochus the Great, 58 ; ad- 
vance of, 59-G3; character of, 80; 
conquered by Parthians, 78; re- 
volt of, 8'2; attacked by Scyths, 
114; provinces of, taken from 
Scyths by Parthia, 124 ; occupied 
by Yardanes, 251 
Bactrians, 22, 82 
Baghdad, 258 n. 
Baghistan, M., 259 
Balkh, 33 

Bardanes (see Vardanes) 
Barsemius, king of Hatra, helps 

Niger, 335 
Basque language, 23 
Bas-reliefs, Parthian, 388-396 
Bassus, 185 
Batnas, 307 
Behistun, 55 
Bellona, temple of, 321 
Belik, R., 152, 1G2. 1(54, 327 
Belik, battle of the, 104-7 
Bibulus, 180 

Bilat-Duri, king of Armenia, 127 
Bir, position of, 152, 155 n. 
BirrTdKec, meaning of, 87 
Bithynia, 30,38. 133 
Bolor, M., 32 
Bosporus, kingdom of (see Cherso- 

nesus Taurica) 
Bunnoo, 01 

pyESAR, JULIUS, sends a body 
\J of Gauls to assist Crassus in 



CMS * 

his Parthian expedition, 1(54; his 
rivalry with Pompey denudes the 
eastern provinces of troops, 1 78 ; 
his defeat of Pompey at Pharsalia, 
183 ; quits the East, 184 ; about 
to engage in a Parthian war, when 
he is assassinated, 185 

Ccesennius Partus, sent by Nero to 
conduct the war in Armenia, 274 ; 
despises Corbulo, ib. ; declares his 
intention of making- Armenia a 
Roman province, 275 ; ravages 
Armenia and boasts to Nero of 
his successes, ib. ; attacked by 
Volagases I., 27(3 ; applies to Cor- 
bulo for aid, 277 ; capitulates, ib. ; 
joins Corbulo, 278 ; pretends to 
have discovered a plot in Comma- 
gene, 289 ; imposes on Vespasian, 
ib. ; invades Commagene, and 
carries ail before him, 200 ; makes 
it a province, ib. 

Caius Csesar, grandson of Augustus, 
sent to pacify the East, 214; has an 
interview with Phraataces, 218 ; 
makes peace with the Parthians, 
219; wounded in Armenia, dies, ib. 

Caligula, 239, 252 ; death of, 248 

Callidromus, 295 

Callinicus, 290 

Capitals, Parthian, 383 

Cappadocia, 30, 32, 37, 133 ; weak- 
ness of, 179; attacked by Arta- 
banus III., 229 ; committed to 
Corbulo, 267 ; placed under Psetus, 

Capreae, 229 

Caprius, II. (see Zab) 

Caracallus, acknowledges Volagases 
V. as Parthian king, 349 ; nego- 
tiates with Artabanus IV., ib. ; 
his inordinate ambition, 350; 
makes Osrhoene a Roman pro- 
vince, ib. ; sends embassy from 
Antioch to Artabanus, 351 ; his 
proposals, 352 ; rejection of them, 
353 ; presses them, and they are 
accepted, ib. ; his inarch to Ctesi- 
phon and treacherous proceedings 
there, 354, 355 ; his destruction of 
the royal tombs at Arbela, 356; 
his murder, 357 

Cardueni, 307 n. 

Cardunian mountains, 308 n. 


Caria, 189, 193 

Carmania, 33; conquered by Arta- 
xerxes, 866 

Carrhaj, 108,181,357 

Carrhenes, 258 

Carthage destro} r ed, 132 

Casius, M., 309 

Caspian Gates, 55, 65; description 
of, 06 ; wrongly placed by Jose- 
phus and Tacitus, 232 n.; held by 
the Ilyrcanians, 291 ; passed by 
the Alani, ib. 

Caspian Sea, 32 

Cassius, C, prefect of Syria under 
Claudius, 256, 257 

Cassius Longinus, an officer under 
Crassus, said to have disapproved 
of his line of march, 157 ; escapes 
from Carrhce and reaches Syria, 
169; repulses the first Parthian 
bands which cross the Euphrates, 
178 ; yields to their second attack, 
ib. ; beats them back from Antioch, 
180 ; again defeats them, ib.; after 
the murder of Julius Caesar, ap- 
plies for aid to Orodes, 185 ; re- 
ceives a body of Parthian troops, 
186; falls at Philippi, ib. 

Caucasus, passes of, 232 

Cendebceus, 98 

Chaldaeaus, spells of, 328 

Chandragupta (.see Sandracottus) 

Chang-kian, 116 n. 

Charax of Media, 67, 69 

Charax Sidie, 152 n. 

Charax Spasini, 67 n. 

Chavnaeus, 191 n. 

Chensi, 115 

Chersonesus Taurica, conquered by 
Mithridates of Pontus, 133 j he 
takes refuge there, 144 

Chorasmia, 9, 15, 27 

Chorasmians, 16, 22, 118. 

Chosroes, 22, 294 ; made king, 297 ; 
reign of, 299-316 ; death of, 317 

Christianitv, disintegrating effect of, 

Cicero, proconsul of Cilicia, 179 

Cilicia, under the Seleucidae, 105 ; 
submits to Tigranes, 141 ; invaded 
by the Parthians, 179; Decidius 
Saxa slain there, 189; Parthians 
defeated there, 190 ; appointed as 
a residence 

for Von ones, 22/ 




assailable from Conimagerie', 289 ; 
gives refuge to Antiochus of 
Commageng, 290 

( limmeriau Bosporus, 306 

Claudius, allows Mithridates of 
Iberia to quit Rome, 252; applied 
to by Parthian rebels, 255 J his 
reply, 256 

Cleopatra of Egypt, 200 

Cleopatra, daughter of Antiochus 
the Great. 7\ 

Cleopatra, wife of Demetrius II., 81 

Cleopatra, daughter of Tigranes the 
Great, 134 

Climate of Parthia, 8, 101 ; of Syria, 

Clodius Albinus, 333, : , »; , >7 

I ioele-Syria, 71 

Coffins, Parthian, 385 

Colchians, 18, 306 

Colchis, 1 8 : conquered by Mithri- 
dates of Pontus, 133 

( lomsean Apollo, temple of, 328 

Commagene, occupied by Parthians 
in force, 190 ; Antiochus, king of, 
192 ; traversed by Corbulo, 277 : 
seized by Peetus, 289 ; and made 
a Roman province, 290 

( 'ommodus, becomes emperor, 332 ; 
character of his reign, ib. ; mur- 

^ dered, 333 

Corbulo, summoned from Germany 
to conduct the war against Vola- 
gases I., 267 ; makes overtures to 
Volagases, ib. ; invades Armenia, 
269 ; conquers it and gives it to 
Tigranes, 270 ; protects Hyrcanian 
envoys, 271 n. ; threatens Vola- 
gases, 273 ; receives coadjutor in 
Psetus, 274; invades Mesopotamia, 
275 ; marches to the relief of 
Psetus, 277 ; makes truce with 
Volagases, 279 ; required to renew 
the war, ib. ; invades Armenia a 
second time, 280 ; arranges terms 
of peace, 281 

Corma, R., 258 

Cornelia, wife of Pompey the Great, 

Cornelianus (see Attidius) 
Cornices, Parthian, 378, 384 
Crassus, obtains the consulship, 150; 
his designs, ib. ; proceeds to the 
East, 152 ; his expedition against 


the Parthians, 152-172 ; his death, 
172 ; treatment of his body, 172, 

Crassus, P., son of the Triumvir, 
sent by Julius Caesar with some 
Gallic horse to help his father, 
164 ; ordered to charge the Par- 
thians, 165 ; defeated and killed, 

Creticus Silanua (see Silanus) 

Ctesias, views of, 26 

Ctesiphon, capital of the Parthian 
Empire, 92 ; chief residence of 
the court, ib. ; submits to Arta- 
banus III., 224 ; occupied by 
Tiridates II., 235; recovered by 
Artabanus, 237 ; persecution of 
Jews at, 244 ; protected by Gotar- 
zes, 258 n. ; taken by Trajan, 312; 
relinquished to Parthamaspates, 
314 ; recovered by Chosroes, 315 ; 
occupied by Avidius Cassius, 328; 
palace there burnt, ib. ; taken by 
Severus, 341 ; scene of meeting 
between Artabanus IV. and Ca- 
racallus, 354; massacre at, ib. 

Cvaxares, 116 

Cyme, 309 

Cyrene, 38 

Cyrrhestica, 180 

Cyrus, name of, corrupted into 
Chosroes, 23 ; Cyrus the Great 
conquers Parthia, 26 ; his expe- 
dition against the Massagetae, 
117 ; Parthian kings regard them- 
selves as his successors, 229 

Cyrus the younger, 152 

DACI, 291 n., 294, 295, 321 n. 
Dacia, conquest of, by Trajan, 

Dadarshish, 128 n. 

Darue, the ancestors of the Par- 
thians, according to some, 17 ; 
story of their migration from the 
Maeotis region, 18 ; their real 
ethnic connection with the Par- 
thians, 43 ; their geographical 
position, 118 ; Artabanus III. 
brought up among them, 223 ; 
give him a refuge when he is 
driven from his kingdom by Tiri- 
dates, 234; help him to recover 




his kingdom, 237 ; assist Gotarzes 
against Vardanes, 251 ; make a 
raid into Parthia, 265 

Damagban, 3 

J )amani Koli, 4 

Danube, tribes on, 331 

Dara or Dareium, 53 

Darius Hystaspis, included the 
Parthians in his 10th satrapy, 
16, 27 ; his expedition against the 
European Scyths, 117; Median 
revolt against him, 129 

Darius, son of Artabanus III., 239 

Decebalus, 294, 295 

Decidius Saxa, defeated by the Par- 
thians, 187; quits Antioch and 
flies to Cilicia, 188 ; engages the 
Parthians there, but is defeated 
and slain, 189, 193 

Deiotarus, 178, 179 

Deira, plain of, 258 n. 

Demetrius of Bactria, son of Euthy- 
demus, 59 ; engages in Indian 
wars, G2 ; superseded in Bactria 
itself by Eucratidas, 70 

Demetrius I. of Syria (Soter), kept 
in Rome as a hostage, 74; makes 
his escape, and becomes king of 
Syria, ib. ; his civil war with 
Lysias, 81 

Demetrius II. of Syria (Nicator), his 
civil war with Tryphon, 81 ; his 
Parthian expedition, 82 ; Mith- 
ridates I. takes him prisoner, 83 ; 
his confinement in Hyrcania, ib. ; 
his attempts to escape, 96 ; his 
acknowledgment of Jewish inde- 
pendence, 97 ; his release and 
return to his kingdom, 100, 100 ; 
his Parthian wife, Rhodogune, 
107 ; his daughter taken to wife 
by Phraates II., ib. 

Derbend, pass of, 232 n. 

Derceto (see Atargetis) 

Diarbekr, 257, 308 n, 

Dio Cassius, 228, 304 

Diodotus I. of Bactria, 40, 42; allied 
with Seleucus Callinicus, 48 ; de- 
serts him and joins Tiridates, 49 

Djuvein, M., 4 

Dniester, 11., 133 

Domitian, 292, 294 

Drangiana, 79 

Drangians, or Sarangians, 11, 71 


ECBATANA, capital of Media 
Magna, occupied by Artabanus 
I., 54 ; recovered by Antiochusthe 
Great, 55 ; a residence of the Par- 
thian court, 93 

Edessa, capital of Osrhoene, at foot 
of Mons Masius, 150 ; Meherdates 
entertained there, 257 ; occupied 
by Trajan, 307 ; revolts from him, 
and is punished, 313; Caracallus 
at, 35(5 

Egypt, 30, 71 ; wars with Armenia 
(?), 126; furnishes soldiers to 
Corbulo, 280 n. 

El Iladhr (see Hatra) 

Elburz, M., elevation of, in Hyrcania, 
57 ; crossed by Antiochus the 
Great, ib. ; streams from it water 
Rhagiana, 05 ; position in it 
occupied by the Caspian Gates, 
QQ ; mostly held by Parthians, 79 

Elegeia, 303, 324 

Eleia, 309 

Elephants, readily procurable from 
India by the Seleucidae, 33 ; five 
hundred given by Sandracottus to 
Seleucus Nicator, 01 ; others given 
by Sophagesenus to Antiochus the 
Great, 62 ; largely employed in 
war by the Seleucid princes, 33 
n. ; surrendered by Euthydemus 
to Antiochus the Great, 58 n. 

Elymais, natives of, resist Antiochus 
Epiphanes, 73 ; attacked by Mith- 
ridates I. of Parthia, 77 ; governed 
by its own king, ib. ; made a 
province of Parthia, ib. ; character 
of, 80 ; revolts of, 82 ; re-attached 
to Parthia, 87 ; its kings allowed 
special privileges, ib. n. 

Epiphanes, 290 

Erucius Clarus, 313 

Eryandus, 128 n. 

Ettrek (or Attrek) R., a river of 
Hyrcania, 3 ; head-streams which 
form it, rise near Kooshan, 4; 
fertility of its valley, 12 ; probably 
the ancient Ochus, 43 

Eucratidas, king of Bactria, ruled at 
same time with Demetrius, 70 ; 
outlived him, ib. ; while engaged 
in Indian wars, lost territory to 
the Parthians, 75; succeeded by 
his son, Heliocles, 78 




Eumenes I. of Pergamus, 31, 38 
Eumenes, adversary of Antigonus, 31 
Euphrates, 1!., crossed by Crassus, 
L62 : again crossed, 157 : recrossed 
by Cassias, L69; crossed by the 
Parthians, 178; recrossed, 181; 
1 >at tie near, 191; Antony at, 201 ; 
Phraataces and Cains Ctesar have 
interview on, 218 ; Artabanus 
proposes interview on it with 
Gtermanicus, 2-27: has interview 
on it with Vitellius, 238 ; crossed 
by Meherdates, 257 : preparations 
made to bridge it, 267; approached 
by Volagasea I., 273 ; crossed by 
Corbulo, 275; Paetus joins Cor- 
bulo at, 278 : Samosata on, 289 ; 
Trajan at, 303; fleet built on, 
311; Trajan descends, ib. ; Ha- 
drian withdraws legions within, 
316 ; Parthians cross, 338 ; Seve- 
rus descends, 340 
Europus, battle near, 326 
Euthvdemeia, 62 

Euthydemus, king of Bactria, at- 
tacked by Antiochus the Great, 
57 ; admitted to terms of peace, 
58 ; engages in Indian wars, G2 ; 
his son, Demetrius, ib. 
Evemerus, 108 (see Himerus) 
Exedares (or Axidares), non-Arian 
character of name, 22; son of 
Pacorus II., 297; made king of 
Armenia, 299 ; deposed by Chos- 
roe's, 301 ; accused of murdering 
Parthamasiris, 305 

FAME, figure of, 390 
Ears, province of, 366 
Ferghana, 115 
Forum at Pome, 282, 283 

Gabinius, 148 

Galatia, occupied by Mithridates of 
Pontus, 133; governed by Deio- 
tarus as a Roman dependency, 
178 ; committed to Corbulo, 267 ; 
made over to Paetus, 274 ; suffers 
from earthquakes, 309 

Galba, 288 

Ganges, R. 61 


Gaugamela, 310 

Gauls, contend with Antiochus I. in 
Asia Minor, 38; borly of, sent to 
aid Crassus by Julius Caesar, 164 ; 
tight bravely, but are defeated, 
166 ; included among the auxi- 
liaries of Antony, 200 

Gedrosia, 33 

Geography of Parthia Proper, 1-8 

Georgia, 231 

Germanicus, sent to the East by 
Tiberius, 225 ; his character, ib. ; 
his proceedings in Armenia, 226 ; 
his dealings with Artabanus III., 
227 ; his death, 228 

Getoe, 117 

Ghilan, plain of, 258 n. 

Gibbon, 87 

Girduni Siyaluk pass, GO n. 

Girduni Sudurrah pass, 66 

Gordyene, name of Upper Mesopo- 
tamia, 135 ; ruled by a Parthian 
tributary king, ib. ; conquered by 
Tigranes the Great, ib., 140; 
capital of, Tigranocerta, 141 ; dis- 
puted between Tigranes and 
Phraates III., 145, 146 ; recovered 
by Mithridates III., 147 ; made 
over by Vardanes I. to Izates, 
253 n. ; conquered by Trajan, 
307; relinquished by Hadrian, 316 

Gotarzes, accession of, 249; displaced 
by Vardanes, 251 ; retires to Hyr- 
cania, 252 ; replaced upon the 
Parthian throne, 254 ; rules with 
harshness, 255 ; contends with 
Meherdates, 257-9; sets up in- 
scription, 259, 260 ; dies, 260 

Greek towns in Parthia, disaffected, 
82; their number very great, 88 
n.\ allowed a ^asi-indepen- 
dence, 89 ; submit to Crassus, 
152; welcome Tiridates II., 234; 
chief of them, Seleucia. 88 ; 
Hecatompylos, 45 ; Apameia, 152 
n.; Anthemusias, or Charax Sidse, 
ib. ; Ichnae, ib. ; Nicephorium, ib. ; 
Zenodotium, 153 

Gurghan, R. 4, 5, 12 

HADRIAN, relinquishes all Tra- 
jan's Eastern conquests, 316 ; 
continues on good terms with 




Parthia, 317 ; insulted by Pharas- 
manes of Iberia, 320 ; returns the 
insult, ib. ; treats him mildly, 32 1 ; 
dies, ib. 
llalus, 235 
ITamadan, 02 
Ilamoon (Sea) 11 

Ilatra (el-Hadhr), taken by Tra- 
jan, 311 ; revolts, 313 ; besieged 
by*Trajan, repulses him, 315 ; Icing 
of, helps Pescennius Niger, 335 ; 
attacked bv Severus, repulses him, 
342-345 ; its wealth, 343 ; plan of, 
374 ; architecture of its palace- 
temple, 375-381 ; its reservoirs 
and tombs, 381, 382 

Hatreni (people of Hatra), 343, 

Heavenly Goddess, title of Musa, 

llecatreus, 1G 

llecatompylos, a residence of the 
Parthian kings, 3 n. ; a colony 
founded by Alexander, 45 ; always 
the chief city of Parthia Proper, 
54 ; taken by Antiochus the Great, 
56 ; old palace there, maintained, 
93 ». 

Ileliocles of Bactria, 78 

Hellespont, 189, 282 

Ilelmend, P., 117 

Iieniochi, 300 

Herat, 11, 118, 254 

Heri-rud, P., receives the Tejend, 
or river of Meshed, 5 ; called Arius 
by the Greeks, 12 ; eastern bound- 
ary of Parthia at accession of Mith- 
ridates I., 69 ; western boundary 
of Bactria, 70 

Hermreus, 71 n. 

Herod the Great, 191 

Herod Agrippa II., 267 

Herod Antipas, 238 n. 

Herod, king of Ghalcis, 267 n. 

Hierapolis, 154 n. 

Himerus (Evemerus), made satrap 
of Babylon by Phraatea II., 108 • 
disgracefully connected with him, 
ib.; his cruelties, 109 n., and 112 
n. ; his war with Mesene, 112 

Hindoo Koosh M., 77, 81 

Hiong-nu (Huns?), 115 

Hirrus, 183 

Hit, 311 


Huns, 115 

Hydaspes, P., 62, 78 

Hyrcania, position of, 3; character 
of, 12 : allied with Parthia in re- 
volt from Darius llystaspis, 15 ; 
united in the same satrapy with 
Parthia, 27; comprised in em- 
pire of Seleucus, 33; conquered 
by Tiridates I., 48 ; invaded by 
Antiochus the Great, 57 ; revolts 
from Mithridates I., but is again 
reduced by him, 76 ; assigned as 
a residence to Demetrius Nicator, 
83, 96 ; invaded by Scyths, 114 ; 
affords a refuge to Artabanus III., 
234 ; assigned to Gotarzes by his 
brother, Vardanes, 252 ; civil war 
there between the brothers, 254 ; 
revolts from Volagases I., 269, 
271 ; allies itself with the Alani, 
291 ; probably separate from Par- 
thia till the fall of the empire, 

Hvrcanus, 188 

Hyrcanus, John, 98, 99 

Hystaspes, 16 

TBERIA, 231 

JL Iberians, furnish horse to Antony, 
200 ; engaged by Pome to attack 
Artabanus III., 232 ; assisted in 
their attack by Albanians and 
Sarmatians, ib. ; succeed in occu- 
pying Armenia, 233 ; maintain 
their conquest by the aid of Pome, 
252 ; attacked by Tiridates, bro- 
ther of Volagases L, repulse him, 
264 ; driven out of Armenia by 
Volagases, 266 ; received into al- 
liance by Trajan, 306 

Ichnaa, 166 

in, p., us 

Illvricum, 280 n., 282 

Ilyats, 25 

Indates, 100 

India, part of, included in the empire 
of Seleucus Nicator, 33 ; parts of, 
conquered by the Bactrian princes, 
62, 70 ; invaded by Scyths, 118, 
124 ; included in Crassus' scheme 
of conquest, 150 ; coveted by Tra- 






[ndo-Scythia, L18 

Indus, R., crossed by Seleucus Ni- 
cator, 60; by Demetritts of Bac- 
tria, 62 : lower valley of, occupied 
by Scyths, 118 

Ionia, L89, 193 

[psus, battle of, 32, 129 

; ran, great plateau of, 1 1, 101 
. sail desert of, 55, 65, 70 

[taly, 281, 288 

[sidore of Charax, hia date, 117 n. 

I irlli. 269 ». 

9, tributary king- of Adiabene, 
a convert to Judaism, 247 : gives 
a refuge to Artabauus II., ib. ; re- 
places him on his throne, ib. ; re- 
warded by the gift of Gordyene, 
258 n. ; gives unpalatable ad- 
vice to Vardanes I., 253 ; is at- 
tacked by him, ib. : supports Me- 
herdates against Gotarzes, 257 ; 
deserts him, '2~)S : is attacked by 
Volagases 1., 2(34 ; dies, 2(55 ; his 
bones conveyed to Jerusalem, 266 

Jaghetu, R., 203 n. 

Jats or Jits, 118 

Jaxartes, R., bounded the empire of 
Seleiicus Nicator, 32 ; northern 
limit of the Aspasiacoe, 48, 75 ; 
northern limit of the influence of 
Parthia, 7 ; southern limit of 
Scythia Proper, 113: advance of 
the Su to, 115 ; establishment of 
the Tochari on, 118 

Jews, driven into insurrection by 
Antiochus Epiphanes, 72 ; con- 
tend with the regent, Lysias, 73 ; 
assist Demetrius 11. against Try- 
phon, 97; he acknowledges their 
independence, ib. ; attacked by 
Antiochus Sidetes, 98; reduced 
to subjection, ib. ; take part in 
Parthian expedition of Sidetes, 
99 ; revolt from him, and once 
more establish their independence, 
105; injured by Crassus, 154 
».; throw off the yoke of Rome, 
1 77 ; accept a king from the Par- 
tisans, 188 ; adhere to the Par- 
thian cause, 191 ; form an impor- 
tant element in the population of 


many Parthian provinces, 240 : 
produce disturbances in Babylonia, 
241 ; are massacred, 244 

Jezireh, 257, 308 n., 310 

Jotapa, married to Alexander, son of 
Antony and Cleopatra, 207 

Judaism, element of weakness in 
Parthia, 3,00 

Jugs, Parthian, 387 

Julfa ferry, on Araxes R., 204 

Julianus, Didius, buys Roman Em- 
pire, 333 

Julius Alexander, 3)13 

Julius Martialis, murders Caracallus, 

KABUL, 118 
Kaleh Erij, 65 

Kanats, 2, 55 

Kara Su, R., 258 n. 

Karta, 23 

Kasvin, 05 

Kerman (see Carmania) 

Kermanshaw, 55, 258 n. 

Kkabour R. (Eastern), 34G 

Khabour R. (Western), 152, 158, 102 

Khaff, 4 

Kharesm, Great Desert of, 4, 114 

Khorasan, 3, 7, 60 

Khshathiita, 128 n. 

King of kings, common title of Par- 
thian kings on coins, 88 ; first 
assumed by Mithridates I., 90 ; 
borne by Tigranes the Great, ib. 
7i., 141 n. ; used by Phraataces 
in letter to Augustus, 218 ; equi- 
valent title used by Gotarzes, in 
inscription, 260 

Kinnamus, 247 

Kurrachee, 6 
Kurush, 23 

LABIENUS, Q., sent as envoy to 
Orodes by Brutus and Cassius, 
187 n. ; joins the Parthians, ib. ; 
invades the eastern provinces ot 
Rome, in conjunction with Pa- 
corus, 187 ; overruns Asia Minor, 
188 ; attacked by Ventidius, re- 
treats, 189; captured and put to 



death, 100: issues coins with the 
title ' Parthicus [mperator,' 189 n. 

Laetus, 342 n. 

Lamps, Parthian, 387 

Lebanon, 245 

Lepidus, 186 n. 

Liberius Maximus, 295 

Locusts, 273 

Loftus, Mr., Parthian discoveries of, 

Lucullus, offended at the conduct of 
Sanatrceces, 143; his war with 
Tigranes the Great, 150 ; his su- 
periority as a commander to 
Crassus, 153 j route by which he 
entered Armenia, 280 

Lycia, 189 

Lvcus, 11., 100 

Lydia, 189, 193 

Lysanias, L91 n. 

Lysias, regent for Antiochus Eupa- 
tor,73 ; his war with the Jews, ib. ; 
civil war between him and Philip, 
75 ; between him and Demetrius 
Soter, 74, 81 

Lysimachus, 30, 35 


U3EDONIA,30; conquered by 

Pome, 132 
Macheloni, 306 

Macrinus, becomes emperor of Home, 
357 ; negotiates with Artabanus, 
ib. ; attacked by him, S58 ; defeated 
at Nisibis after a three days' battle, 
359 ; buys peace, 3G0 

Maeotis, L., 291 

Magi, form a portion of the Parthian 
Senate, 85 ; antiquity of, 86 ; 
numbers of, under the Parthians, 
86 ; power of, 87 : neglect of, by 
later Parthian kings, 365, 400 

Magnesia, battle of, 129, 131 

Magus, figure of, 393 

Malchus, 191 n. 

Manisares, 307 

Mardi, attacked by Phraates I., 63 j 
position of, ib. ; reduction of, 64 ; 
removal of, to Charax, (57 ; cha- 
racter of their country, 80 

Margiana, 10, 7i> 

Margians, 22 

Marius Maximus, 342 n. 


Martius Verus, general of Verus the 
Emperor, 325 

Masius, M., line along foot of, fol- 
lowed by Alexander, 156 ; should 
have been followed by Crassus, 
173; whole chain overrun and 
reduced by Trajan. 307 

Massagetae, expedition of Cyrus 
against, 117 ; a branch of the great 
Scythic nation, 118; occupy both 
banks of the Oxus, ib. ; their 
tribes, ib. ; their habits, 119; 
thought by some to have been the 
ancestors of the Alani, 291 n. 

Maurja princes, (52 

Maximus, defeat of, 313 

Mazauderan, 63 

Medes, 26, 33 

Media Atropatene {see Atropatene) 

Media Magna, included in empire of 
Seleucus, 33; submits to Ptolemy 
Euergetes, 46 ; invaded by Arta- 
banus I., 54; recovered by Antio- 
chus the Great, 5o ; invaded by 
Phraates I., 65 ; conquered by 
Mithridates I., 75 ; character of, 
80 ; assigned as a government to 
Mithridates III., 148 ; a refuge to 
threatened Arsacida3, 261 ; perhaps 
assigned to Pacorus by Volagases 
I., 262 n. ; invaded by Avidius 
Cassius, 328 

Meerabee, M., 4 

Megistanes, how composed, 85 ; 
their powers, ib.; elect Artabanus 
II. in succession to his nephew, 
Phraates I., Ill ; depose Arta- 
banus III. and elect Kinnamus,. 
247 ; depose Gotarzes and elect 
Vardanes, 250 

Meherdates, son of Yonones, sent for 
as king by the Parthians, 255 ; 
allowed by Claudius to accept the 
call, 256 ; crosses the Euphrates, 
ib. ; marches by Diarbekr, Til, and 
Jezireh, on Nineveh, 257 ; enters 
Adiabene, ib. ; supported by Izates, 
ib. ; deserted by him, 258 ; de- 
feated by Gotarzes, ib. ; taken pri- 
soner and mutilated, 259; called 
Mithrates in an inscription, 260 n. 

Melitene (now Malatiyeh), 280 

Merv, 10, 33 

Mesenc, 112 




Meshed, 3 

Meshed, R., 4 valley, 5, 6 

Mesopotamia, comprised in the em- 
pire of Seleucus Nicator, 32 ; sub- 
mits to Ptolemy Euergetes, 17: 
recovered by the Syrians, ib. ; 
passes under Parthia, 105; in- 
vaded by Crassus, 152 ; recovered 
by the Parthians, 17(5; Jews in, 
240 : ravage of locusts in, 273 ; 
invaded by Corbulo, 275 ; evacu- 
ated by the Romans, 279; con- 
quered by Trajan and made a 
Roman province, 307; relinquished 
by Hadrian, 316; invaded by 
Avidius Cassius, 327 ; taken from 
Parthia and made dependent on 
Rome, 330; revolts, 336; again 
reduced by Severus, 337; re- 
covered by Volagases IV., 338 ; 
re-occupied by Severus, 340 ; held 
by Caracallus, 354, 356 ; invaded 
by Artabanus IV., 358; remains in 
the possession of the Romans, 3G0 

Miletus, 38 

Minni, 126, 127 

Mithra, 399 

Mithrates, 260 (see Meherdates) 

Mithridates I., king of Parthia, suc- 
ceeds his brother, Phraates I., 67; 
importance of his reign to Parthia, 
69 ; takes territory from Bactria, 
75; conquers Media, 76 ; crushes 
revolt in Hyrcania, ib. ; occupies 
Elymais, 77 ; receives the sub- 
mission of Persia and Babylonia, 
ib. ; conquers Bactria, 78 ; invades 
India (?), 78 ; extent of his do- 
minions, 79 ; attacked by Deme- 
trius Soter, 82 ; defeats him and 
takes him prisoner, 83 ; dies, ib. ; 
system of government which he 
established, 84-90; his character, 

Mithridates II. (the Great), king of 
Parthia. succeeds his father, Arta- 
banus II., 123 ; effectually checks 
the Scyths, Jl>4; enlarges the em- 
pire towards the east, ib. ; attacks 
Armenia. 125 ; makes an advanta- 
geous peace, receiving Tigranes as 
a hostage, 131 ; aids Tigranes to 
mount the Armenian throne, 134 ; 


loses territory to him, ib. ; nego- 
tiates with Sulla, 13,5 ; dies, ib. ; 
summary of his reign, 13(5 
Mithridates III., king of Parthia, 
in conjunction with his brother, 
Orodes, assassinates his father, 
Phraates III., 147 ; engages in 
war with the Armenians, and re- 
covers Gordyene from them, ib. ; 
rules harshly, 148 ; deposed by his 
subjects, ib. ; tries to recover his 
kingdom by force of arms from 
Orodes, 149; fails, ib. ; submits to 
j Orodes, and is put to death, ib. 
i Mithridates IV. of Parthia, a pre- 
tender contemporary with Pacorus 
II. and Chosroes, 296 ; his coins, 
297 n. 
Mithridates IV. of Pontus, 132 
Mithridates V. (the Great), king of 
Pontus, rapidly builds up a great 
empire, 133 ; allied with and as- 
sisted by Tigranes the Great, ib. ; 
thwarted by Borne, 134; feared 
by Parthia, 141 ; vanquished by 
Rome in first war, 142 ; asks aid 
from Sanatrceces, 143; attacked 
by Lucullus, and then by Pompey, 
ib. ; defeated and driven to take 
refuge in the Tauric Chersonese, 
144 7 

Mithridates, brother of Pharasmanes, 
king of Iberia, made king of 
Armenia by Pharasmanes, 232; 
maintains himself successfully 
against Artabanus III., 233 ; sum- 
moned to Rome by Caligula and 
detained there, 252; allowed to 
return to Armenia by Claudius, 
ib. ; re-established in his king- 
dom, 253 ; murdered by Rkada- 
mistus, his nephew, 263 
Mithridates, a Parthian satrap, 

242 243 
Miyanabad valley, 4 
Miyanabad, R., 5 
Mnasciras, 138 
Moesia, 295 

Monreses, 22, 198, 272, 273 
Mongols, 24 

Monobazus, tributary king of Adia- 
bene under the Parthians, suc- 
ceeds his brother, Izates, 265; 
accepted without reluctance by 




Volagases L, 266 ; ordered by 
Volagases to invade Armenia, 
obeys him, '27'-) ; besieges Tigrano- 
certa, ib. 

Mosul, 257 

Moughojar Hills, 1 

Mozdok, pass of, 232 n. 

Murg-ab, 10 

Murwut, 61 

Musa (Thermusa), wife of Phraates 
IV., was an Italian slave-girl sent 
to him b} r Augustus, 214; joins 
Phraataces, lier son, in assassinat- 
ing him, 215 ; reigns in conjunc- 
tion with Phraataces, 220 ; her 
head and titles upon coins, ib. u. 

Mylasa, 189 

Myrina, 309 

NAIRI, 12G, 127 
Naphtha, 343 ?i. 

Naples, 282 

Nearda, 241-243 

Nero, youth and character of, on ac- 
cession, 266 ; Corbulo fears his 
jealousy, 274 ; he sends Psetus to 
the East, ib. ; believes Pretus' 
dispatches, 279; receives Tiri- 
dates at Naples, 282 ; invests him 
with the sovereignty over Ar- 
menia, 283 ; troubles which fol- 
lowed his death, 288 

Nicephorium, 152 n., 327 

Nicomedes I., of Bithynia, 38 

Nicomedes II., of Bithynia, 133 

Nicomedes III., of Bithynia, 142 n. 

Nicomedia, Caracallus at, 351 

Niebuhr, views of, 25 

Nineveh, situation of, convenient for 
a capital, 34 ; on the line of 
Alexander's march, 156 ; taken by 
Meherdates, 257 ; submits to Tra- 
jan, 310 

Niphates. M., 125 

Nisrea, 22 

Nishapur, 3 

Nishapur, R., 4, 5 

Nisibis, included in the kingdom of 
Valarsaces, 130; repulses Lucul- 
lus, 1 43 ; on the route followed 
by Alexander, 156 ; Volagases I. 
at, 273 ; submits to Trajan, 307 ; 
fleet built at, 308 ; revolt at, 313; 


revolt punished, ib. ; made the 
head-quarters of Romans after 
conquest of Mesopotamia, 336; 
besieged by rebels, ib. ; made his 
head-quarters by Severus, 337 ; 
raised to the dignity of a Roman 
colony, and made the capital x>f 
Mesopotamia, ib. ; successfully re- 
sists the Parthians, 338; great 
battle of, 358-360 

Octavian (see Augustus) 

Octavius, officer of Orassus, escapes 
from Carrh;e, 169 ; occupies Sin- 
naca, ib. ; quits it to assist Crassus, 
170 ; involved in his destruction, 

Oppius Statianus, 201 

Opus, 309 

Oritus, 309 

Ormazd, 398 

Ornaments, Parthian, 387, 388 

Ornodapantes, 180 

Ornospades, 22, 234 

Orobazus, Parthian ambassador sent 
by Mithridates II. to Sulla, 135: 
said to have been put to death bv 
Mithridates, 136 

Orodes I., king of Parthia, driven 
into banishment by his brother, 
Mithridates III.,' 148 ; made go- 
vernor of Media, ib. ; recalled by 
nobles and made king, ib. ; his 
civil war with Mithridates, 149 ; 
attacked by Crassus, 151 ; his ar- 
rangements to meet the attack, 
153 ; his embassy to Orassus, 154 ; 
his appointment of Surenas, 159 ; 
his campaign in Armenia, 174 ; he 
makes peace with Artavasdes, ib. ; 
receives the head of Crassus, and 
ill-treats it, 175 ; fails to see the 
opportunity of checking Rome 
which the defeat of Crassus 
offered, 177 ; has Surenas exe- 
cuted, ib. ; sends Pacorus, his 
eldest sou, to invade Syria, 178 ; 
recalls him, 180 ; holds communi- 
cations with Pompey, 183 ; threat- 
ened by Julius C^sar, 184; lends 
troops to Brutus and Cassius, 186; 
sends Pacorus, with Labienus, to 




invade Syria. 187 ; deeply grieved 
by the death of Pacorus, L96; 
makes his next son, Phraates, 
king-, ib. ; is assassinated by him, 

Orodes II., 221 

Orodes, son of Artabanus III., put 
forward as a candidate for the 
Armenian throne, 224 ; his can- 
didal are rejected by Germanicus, 
226; sent by Artabanus to resist 
Pharasmanes, 232 ; defeated and 
supposed to be slain, 233 

Orontes valley, 33, 35, 180 

Orosius, his date, 08 n. 

Ortoadistus, 125, 130, 131 

Os (Osethi), 291 n. 

Osaces, 178 

Osrhoene, situation of, 151 ; capital 
of, Edessa, ib. ; kings of, 151, 
257, 295, 339, 350; submits to 
Crassus, 151; sides with Meher- 
dates, 256 ; its sovereignty sold by 
Chosroes, 294-6 ; submits to Tra- 
jan, 307; recovered by Parthia, 
316 ; goes over to Severus, 339 ; 
made a Roman province by Cara- 
callus, 350 

Otho, 288 

Oxus, K., bounded Chorasmia on the 
north, 9 ; bounded the Aspasiacae 
on the south, 48, 75; perhaps not 
the furthest limit of the Parthian 
empire, 79 ; crossed by the Scyth- 
ians, 115 ; by the Massagetse, 118 

)ACORUS I., son of Orodes I., 
married to a daughter of Arta- 
vasdes, 174 ; sent by his father to 
invade Syria, 178 ; tempted to 
rebel against him, 180; recalled 
to Parthia, ib. ; sent a second time 
into Syria, 182, 187 ; reduces Syria, 
188 ; invades Palestine and makes 
Antigonus king of the Jews, ib. ; 
sends troops to assist Labienus, 
189; retires across the Euphrates, 
190 ; again appears in Syria, 191 ; 
met and defeated by Ventidius, 
192 ; falls in the battle, ib. ; grief 
of Orodes at his untimely end, 195; 

i'oint king for some years with 
lis father, 182 n. 

v\ R 

Pacorus II., successor of Volagases 
L, 293; date of his accession, 
285, 292 ; head on his early coins 
beardless, 294 ; encourages a pre- 
tended Nero, ib. ; holds communi- 
cations with Decebalus of Dacia, 
295; sells the sovereignty of 
Edessa, ib. ; his reign disturbed by 
pretenders, 296 ; his death, 297 

Pacorus, brother of Volagases I., 
made king of Media by Volagases, 
262 n. ; attacked by the Alani, 
291 ; flies to the mountains, ib. 

Paetus {see Caesennius) 

Palestine, 71, 97, 105, 154, 188, 190, 
325 {see Jews) 

Pains Mseotis, 17, 291 

Pamphylia, 189 

Pannonian horse, 276 

Paphlagonia, 133 

Parni, 17, 43, 118 

Paropamisus, M., 10, 11, 70 

Parrhaces, 22, 23, 258 

Parthamasiris, son of Pacorus II., 
not allowed to succeed him, 297 ; 
proposed by Chosroes as a candi- 
date for the Armenian throne, 
301 ; enters into communications 
with Trajan, 302; invited by 
Trajan to visit him in his camp, 
303 ; arrives, and finds himself in 
a trap, ib. ; his spirited behaviour, 
304; put to death by Trajan s 
orders, 305 

Parthamaspates, an Arsacid who 
sided with Trajan, 314 ; set up by 
Trajan as king of Parthia, ib. : ex- 
pelled from Ctesiphon by Chos- 
roes, 315 ; made king of Armenia 
by Hadrian, 316 ; attacked there 
by the Alani, 320 

Parthia Proper, situation of, 2; 
limits of, 3 ; climate of, 8 ; con- 
quered by Cyrus, 26 ; submits to 
Alexander, 2*8; falls to Seleucus, 
33 ; revolts from the Seleucidaa, 

Parthians, 15; ethnic character of, 
17-25; institutions of, 84-95; 
able to bear cold, 101 ; cavalry 
of, 100, 161 ; revolt and establish 
independence, 41-43 ; conquer 
Hyrcania, 48; defeat Seleucus 
Callinicus, 49 ; attack Media, 54 ; 

G G 




acknowledged independent by 
Antiochus the Great, 57 ; conquer 
the Mardi, 68; pass the Caspian 

dates, and occupy Charax, 65-67 ; 
take territory From Bactria, 75; 
conquer Media, ib. j crush revolt 
in llyrcania, 70; conquer Ely- 
mais, 77 ; receive the submission 
of Persia and Babylonia, ib. ; con- 
quer Bactria, 78 ; defeat Deme- 
trius II., 83 ; defeat Antiochus 
Sidetes, 103-105 ; are defeated by 
the Scy ths, 109 ; attack the Scy ths 
(Tochari), but are again defeated, 
122; effectually check the Scythian 
progress, 124 ; attack Armenia, 
ib. ; gain territory from Tigranes, 
but lose it again, 134 ; lose Gor- 
dyene and Adiabene, 140 ; make 
alliance with Pompey against 
Tigranes, 143; ill-used by Pompey, 
145 ; recover Adiabene, ib. ; and 
Gordyene, 147; attacked by the 
Romans under Crassus, completely 
defeat them, 150-172 ; invade the 
Roman territory under Pacorus, 
178 ; recross the Euphrates, 181 ; 
invade again in great force under 
Labienus and Pacorus, 187 ; defeat 
Saxa, 188 ; overspread Syria, 
Palestine, and Asia Minor, 188-9 ; 
are repulsed by Ventidius and 
surrender their conquests, 190- 
192 ; weakness of their military 
system, 193; are attacked by 
Antony, who invades the depen- 
dent kingdom of Media Atropatene", 
201 ; completely baffle and defeat 
him, 202-205 ; make peace with 
Augustus, 209; quarrel with Rome 
for the possession of Armenia, 229; 
make peace with Tiberius, 239 ; 
suffer from internal troubles, 241- 
2(51 ; claim and seize Armenia, 260 ; 
contend with Rome for it, 207- 
280 ; retain it, 284; lose Hyrcania 
by revolt (?), 280 ; suffer from the 
attacks of the Alani, 291 ; attacked 
by Trajan, lose Armenia, Mesopo- 
tamia, and Adiabend, 301-315 ; 
recover the last two by the volun- 
tary cession of Hadrian, 310 ; 
attacked a second time by the 
Alani, 320; seize Armenia, 324; 


invade Syria and Palestine, 325; 
severely punished by Avidius Cas- 
sius, 320-328 ; lose Western Meso- 
potamia, 329; enter on third period 
of decline, 330 ; favour the cause 
of Niger, 335 ; are attacked by 
Severus, 330 ; attack him in turn, 
338 ; recover Adiabene and Meso- 
potamia, ib. ; again lose them, 
340 ; lose Ctesiphon, 341 ; allow 
Severus to retreat unmolested, 
345 ; suffer at the hands of 
CaracaUus, 354-350; defeat Mac- 
rinus, 358-300 ; make an honour- 
able peace with Rome, 300 ; lose 
their empire to the revolted Per- 
sians, 300-308. Architecture of, 
371-384 ; art of, 385-397 ; religion 
of, 398-401 ; manners and customs 
of, 402-405 

Parthyene, 2 

Parthwa, 15 

Pedo, M. Virgilianus, 308 

Perdiccas, 31 

Pergamus, 30, 132 

Persia Proper, comprised in the 
empire of Seleucus Nicator, 33 ; 
submits to Ptolemy Euergetes, 
47 ; recovered by Syria, ib. ; sub- 
mits to Mithridates I. of Parthia, 
77; revolts and supports Deme- 
trius Nicator, 82; governed gene- 
rally by a tributary king, 87 ; 
treated with exceptional favour by 
Parthians, 305 ; dissatisfied, 301- 
303 ; revolts under Artaxerxes and 
becomes independent, 300 ; scene 
of struggle between Artaxerxes 
and Artabanus, 307 

Persians, submit to Parthians, 77 ; 
revolt and establish their inde- 
pendence, 300; conquer Parthia 
and establish an empire, 307 

Perusia, siege of, 187 

Pescennius Niger, sets himself up as 
emperor, 333 : assisted by Vola- 
gases IV., 334; defeated and slain 
by Severus, 336 

Peshawur, 61 

Pestilence, 328, 329 

Pharasmanes I., king of Iberia, in- 
duced byTiberius to attackParthia, 
231 ; conquers Armenia, and places 
bis brother, Mithridates, on the 



throne, 23*2 ; maintains his ground 
against Orodes, 233 ; suggests the 
seizure of Armenia to his son, 
Rhadamistus, 263 ; has dealings 
with Corbulo, 209 ; receives from 
Corbulo an augmentation of his 
territories, 270 

Pharasmanes II., king of Iberia, re- 
fuses to pay court to Hadrian, 
320 : insulted by Hadrian in re- 
turn, ib. ; induces the Alani to in- 
vade Armenia and Media Atro- 
patene - , ib. ; mildly treated by 
Hadrian, 321 

Ph am a pates, 100 

Pherecles, 43 

rinl-Hellene, a title of Parthian 
kings, 89 

Philip, 73, 75, 81 

Philippi, battle of, 186 

Phoenicia, 141 

Phraataces, son of Phraates IV. 
and Musa, 214 ; poisons his father, 
215; ascends the Parthian throne, 
217; defies Augustus, 218; has 
interview with Caius, 219; places 
his mother's head and titles on his 
coins, 220; offends his subjects, 
221 ; is put to death, ib. 

Phraates I., king of Parthia, son and 
successor of Priapatius, 63 ; at- 
tacks the Mardians, ib. ; reduces 
them, 64 ; invades Media Rhagi- 
ana, 65 ; places a portion of the 
newly conquered Mardians at 
Charax, 67 ; appoints his brother, 
Mithridates, his successor, ib. ; 
called ' Philadelphus ' on his 
coins, 68 ; coins of, 63, 68 n. 

Phraates II., king of Parthia, son 
and successor of Mithridates I., 
96 ; treats Demetrius Nicator with 
kindness, ib. ; attacked by Anti- 
ochus Sidetes, 98 ; suffers three 
defeats, 100 ; has recourse to 
stratagem, 101 ; amuses Sidetes 
with negotiations, 103 ; contrives 
a massacre of the invaders in their 
winter quarters, ib. ; defeats Si- 
detes, who falls in the battle, 
104 ; destroys the whole of his 
army, 105 ; having released De- 
metrius previously, tries to re-cap- 
ture him, 106 j marries a daughter 

of Demetrius, 107 ; quarrels with 
his Scythian auxiliaries, 108 ; 
commits the government of Baby- 
lon to Himerus, ib. ; killed in a 
battle against the Scythians, 109 ; 
his character, 109, 110 

Phraates III., king of Parthia, son 
and successor of Sanatreeces, 143 ; 
makes alliance with Pompey, ib. ; 
wars with Tigranes the Great, 144; 
ill-used by Pompey, 145 ; con- 
cludes a disadvantageous peace 
with Tigranes, 147 ; assassinated 
by his sons, Mithridates and 
Orodes, ib. 

Phraates IV., king of Parthia, son of 
Orodes, 195; made king by him, 
ib. ; assassinates his brothers, ib. ; 
assassinates his father, 196 ; treats 
his subjects harshly, 198; con- 
spired against by Monaeses, ib. ; 
attacked by Antony, 199; frus- 
trates Antony's expedition, 200- 
204 ; quarrels with Artavasdes of 
Media, 205 ; attacks and defeats 
him, 207 ; renews his cruelties, 
208 ; is driven from his kingdom, 
ib. ; recovers his throne by the 
help of the Scyths, ib. ; establishes 
friendly relations with Augustus, 
209 ; sends four of his sons to 
Rome, 211 ; offends Augustus by 
interfering with affairs in Ar- 
menia, 212; dies, 214; leaves 
his crown to Phraataces, his son 
by Musa, ib. ; his character, 215, 

Phraates, son of Phraates IV., sent 
to reside in Rome by his father, 
211 ; sought as their king by the 
Parthians, 229 ; proceeds to Syria, 
230 ; adopts the Parthian mode of 
life, 231 ; dies, ib. 

Phraortes, 129 

Phriapites, 42 

Phrygia, comprised in the empire of 
Seleucus Nicator, 32 ; jealousy 
retained by the early Seleucid 
princes, 37 ; supposed primitive 
country of the Armenians, 128; 
part of, ceded by Rome to Mithri- 
dates IV. of Pontus, 132 ; seized 
by Rome during minority of 
Mithridates V., 142 

Gr G 




Phrygians, 127 
Piperne, 6 

Piso, governor of Syria, 227 n. 
Pissuri, 118 
Pitane\ 809 
Pitthides, 110 n. 
Plancinia, wife of Piso, 227 n. 
Tolemo L, king of Pontus, sent as 
ambassador to Antony by Arta- 
vasdes of Media Atropatene, 205 ; 
rewarded by Antony with the 
government of the Lesser Ar- 
menia, 200 n. ; his son, Zeno, 226 
Polemo II., king of Pontus, 270 
Polybius, 74 
Polytimetus, R., 114 
Pomaxjethres, 172 n. 
Pompeiopolis, 227 

Pompey the Great, makes alliance 
with Phraates III., 143 ; treats 
him unfairly, 145 ; arbitrates be- 
tween him and Tigranes, 147 
patronises Ptolemy Auletes, 148 
negotiates with Orodes L, 183 
contemplates taking refuge with 
him, ib. ; powers granted him by 
the Gabinian law, 280 n. 
Pompey, Sext., 186 n. 
Pompsedius Silo, 190 
Pontus, a separate kingdom as early 
as battle of Ipsus, 30 ; in alliance 
with Rome under Mithridates 
IV., 132 ; injured by Rome during 
minority of Mithridates V., 142 ; 
becomes a great empire under 
Mithridates V., 133 ; inspires 
Rome and Parthia with a common 
fear, 134 ; carries on tremendous 
struggle with Rome, 140 ; forced 
to submit by Lucullus and 
Pompey, 143, 144 ; curtailed king- 
dom of, given to Polemo, 205 n. ; 
placed under the authority of 
Psetus, 275 
Praaspa, capital of Media Atropa- 
tene^ 201 ; situation of, ib. n. ; be- 
sieged by Antony, 202 j siege of, 
fails, 203 
Praetorians at Rome, 283 
Priapatius, king of Parthia, suc- 
ceeded Artabanus L, 59; reigned 
fifteen years, ib. ; lived at peace 
with his neighbours, 63; succeeded 
by his son, Phraates I., ib. 


Probus, 117 

Pseudo-Nero, 294 

Pseudo-Smerdis, 15 

Ptolemy I., 32, 35 

Ptolemy Philadelphus, 38 

Ptolemy Euergetes, 46 

Ptolemy V., 71 

Ptolemy Auletes, 148 

Punjaub, included in dominions of 
Alexander, 60 ; recovers indepen- 
dence, ib. ; invaded by Seleucus 
Nicator, 61; ruled by Sandra- 
cottus, ib. n. ; invaded by Deme- 
trius of Bactria, 62 ; held by his 
son, Eucratidas, 71 ; and perhaps 
by other princes of his family, 
71 n. 

Pyramus, R., 227 


UIETUS, L., 313. 

FJAKKAH, 152 n. 
Xl Religion of the Parthians, 398 

Remanen, supposed to be Arme- 
nians, 125 n. 

Rhadamistus, son of Pharasmanes of 
Iberia, advised by his father to 
seize Armenia, 263 ; murders his 
uncle, Mithridates, and becomes 
king, ib. ; attacked and driven 
from his kingdom by Volagases 
L, 264 ; recovers it, ib. ; again 
driven out, 266 

Rhages, 65, 93 

Rhagiana, 65 

Rhodaspes, son of Phraates IV., 
sent to reside in Rome by his 
father, 211 ; his name in an in- 
scription, ib. n. ; perhaps the 
father of Tiridates II., 231 n. 

Rhodes, Tiberius at, 212 

Rhodogune, daughter of Mithri- 
dates L, king of Parthia, promised 
by him to Demetrius Nicator, 83 : 
married to Demetrius, 96; has 
several children, 107 

Rhoxalani, meaning of, 291 n. 

Romans, 72, 105; first contact with 
Parthia, 131-136; general distrust 
of, 142, 143 ; wage war with Mith- 




ridates V. and Tigranes, ib. ; make 
alliance with Parthia, 143 ; ill use 
her, 145 ; invade Parthia under 
Crassus without just cause, 150 ; 
sutler a complete defeat, 164-172 ; 
are attacked in turn by the Par- 
tisans, 178 ; repulse them, 180 ; 
are again attacked after Philippi, 
187 ; lose Syria, Palestine, and 
most of Asia Minor, 188, 189 ; re- 
cover them and drive out the 
Parthians, 190-192; contend with 
Parthia for influence over Ar- 
menia, 195, 213-218, 224-233, 
2(53-284 ; attempt to conquer 
Parthia under Trajan, 299-312 ; 
attempt fails, 313-316; attacked 
by Volagases III., 324 ; repel the 
attack, invade Parthia, and con- 
quer Mesopotamia, 325-330 ; again 
invade Parthia under Severus, 337- 
345 ; conquer AdiabemS, 346 ; 
treacherously attack Parthia under 
Caracallus, 355 ; are defeated 
under Macrinus, 358-360 ; make 
a dishonourable peace, 360 

Rostra, at Rome, 283 

Rurn-kaleh, 155 n. 


ABARTS, 128 ». 

Sacastane, 33, 117 

SacauracaB, 139 

Sagartia, 11, 15, 33 

Saka, 117, 118, 120 (see Scyths) 

Sakarauli, 118 

Samarkand, 115 

Sambulos, M., 258 

Samosata (now Sumeisat), 276 n., 
289; Trajan at, 302 

Sanatrceces, king of Parthia, not the 
successor of Mithridates II., 137 ; 
variant forms of his name, 138 ; 
perhaps a son of Mithridates I., 
139 n. ; helped to his crown by 
the Scythians, 139 ; difficulties of 
his situation, 140-142 ; refuses 
aid to Mithridates of Pontus, 143 j 
offends Lucullus, ib.; dies, ib. 

Sandracottus, 60, 62 

Sarangia, 11, 15, 33 

Saraucee, 118 

Sardis, 38 

Sargonid dynasty, 126 


Sarmatians, 232 

Sassanians, rise of, 371 ; architec- 
ture of, 373, 382 ; art of, coarse 
and grotesque, 390 
Sauromatae, 306 
Satala, 303 
Scythic cap, 91 

Scyths, 17, 19 ; incursions of, 71 ; 
furnish mercenaries to Phraates I., 
99; quarrel with him, 108; de- 
feat and kill him, 109 ; quit Par- 
thia, 113 ; causes of their unsettled 
state, 115, 116 ; conquer Bactria, 
Ariana, and Sarangia, 117 ; pene- 
trate to Kabul and the valley of 
the Indus, 118 ; their tribes at 
this period, ib. ; character of their 
barbarism, 119 ; attacked by Ar- 
tabanus II., defeat and kill him, 
121, 122 ; their further advance ef- 
fectually checked by Mithridates 
II., 124 ; assistance given by them 
to Sanatrceces, 139; to Phraates 
IV., 208 ; assist Pharasmanes of 
Iberia, 232 ; assist Artabanus III. 
against Tiridates, 237 ; invade 
Parthia Proper, 265 
Sebzawar, 9 
Seistan, 118, 124 
Seistan, Sea of, 11 
Seleucia (Syrian), 105 n. 
Seleucia, built by Seleucus Nicator, 
34 ; situation of, ib. ; importance 
of, 88 ; how governed, 89 ; Ctesi- 
phon, opposite to, 92 ; revolts 
from Orodes, 149 ; reduced by 
• Surenas, 159 ; entered by Surenas 
in triumph, 176 ; gives refuge to 
Vonones I., 223 ; quitted by him, 
224 ; has its constitution modified 
by Tiridates II., 235 ; massacre of 
Jews at, 244 ; revolt of, from 
Artabanus III., 248 ; besieged by 
Vardanes I., 251 ; reduced, 252 ; 
submits to Trajan, 311 ; revolts, 
313 ; taken and burnt by Avidius 
Cassius, 327, 328 ; submits to Se- 
verus, 340 
Seleucians, 112, 248, 251 
Seleucus Nicator, founds the Syro- 
Macedonian empire, 31 ; his pre- 
vious career, 31, 32 ; extent of 
his territories, 33 ; his successive 
capitals, 34, 35; his quarrel with 




Ptolemy Lagi, 87 ; his expedition 
across the Indus, GO; his peace 
with Sandracottus, 61 ; Armenia 
submits to him, 129 

Seleucus Callinicus, defeated by 
Ptolemy Euergetes, 47 ; his terri- 
tories overrun, ib. ; recovers them, 
ib. ; attacked by Tiridates I. of 
Parthia, 48; marches to the East, 
ib. : drives Tiridates from his 
kingdom, but is afterwards com- 
pletely defeated by him, 49 ; re- 
called to Syria by the intrigues of 
his brother, Antiochus Ilierax, 52 

Seleucus IV., G4, 130 

Seleucus V., 105, 107 

Seljukian Turks, 193 

Senate, Roman, 283 

Seraspadanes, 211, 231 n. 

Sesostris, 17 

Severianus, 324 

Severus, Septimius, proclaimed em- 
peror in Pannonia, 333 ; acknow- 
ledged at Rome, 334; defeats 
Pescennius Niger, 336; invades 
Mesopotamia, ib. ; reduces it, 337 ; 
reduces Adiabene", ib. ; returns to 
Rome and crushes Albinus, 338 : 
again visits the East, ib. ; drives 
the Parthians out of Syria, ib. ; 
forces Armenia to submit to him, 
339 ; receives the submission of 
Osrhoene', ib. ; re-conquers Meso- 
potamia and Adiabend, 340 ; takes 
Babylon and Seleucia, ib. ; takes 
Ctesiphon, 341 ; repulsed from 
Hatra, 343-345 ; dies at York, 

Shah-Rud, 3 

Shapur, ruins of, 383 

Shebri-No, 3 

Shikarpoor, 61 

Sicilian Vespers, 102 

Silanus, 224 

Sillaces, 178 

Simon, High-priest of the Jews, 97 

Singara, taken by Trajan, 307 

Sinjar, M., 162, 307, 335 

Sinnaca, 169 

Sinnaces, 21, 230, 234 

Sippara (see Sura) 

Sir-pul-i-Zohab, reliefs at, 390-392 

Sittacene, 235 

Sling, Roman use of the, 194 


Sonsmus, king of Armenia under 
Roman protection, 324; driven 
from his throne by Volagases III., 
ib. ; reinstated by the Romans, 

Sogdiana, joined with Parthia in 
the Persian inscriptions, 15 ; at 
one time united in the same 
satrapy with Parthia, 27; included 
in the empire of Seleucus Nicator, 
33 ; occupied bv Scythians, 114 

Sogdians, 16, 21/22 

Sohemus, 267 n. 

Soli (see Pompeiopolis) 

Sophagasenus, 62 

Sophene, 140, 267 n. 

Sophi, 85 

Statianus, 201, 202, 205 n. 

Statius Priscus, general of Verus, 
325 ; reduces Armenia, 326 

Statuette, Parthian, 386 

Su, 115 

Sulla, 135 

Sunbulah, M., 258 

Sura (Sippara ?), battle at, 327 

Surena, meaning of the word, 23 ; 
duties of the office, 86, 235 

Surenas, used as a proper name by the 
Greek writers, 159 n. ; only name 
given to the general employed 
against Crassus, 159 ; his previous 
exploits, ib. ; his advance to meet 
the Romans, 162 ; how far in- 
debted to Abgarus, 163 ; his dis- 
position of his troops, 164 ; his 
attack and victory, 165-7 ; his 
pursuit of the retreating army, 
168-170; his treacherous seizure 
of Crassus, 171 ; his triumphal 
entry into Seleucia, 176 ; his 
death, 177 

Susa, 34,312 n. 

Susiana, included in the empire of 
Seleucus Nicator, 33 ; conquered 
by Mithridates I. of Parthia, 77 ; 
character of the region, 80; in- 
vaded by the Romans, 312 n. 

Susianians, 127 

Sutlej, R., 62 

Syria, becomes a distinct kingdom, 
30 ; falls to Seleucus Nicator, 31 ; 
duration of kingdom, ib. ; exhaus- 
tion of, after war of Antiochus 
the Great with Rome, 64; cli- 




mate of, 101 ; decline of, 105 ; 
threatened by Phraates II., L07 ; 

falls under the dominion of Ti- 
granes, 141 ; is a Roman province 
under Gabinius, L48; is ravaged 
by the Parthians, 170, 188; is 
recovered by Ventidius, 100; is 
visited by Qermanicus, 226 ; is 
assigned to Vitellius, 228; gov- 
erned by C. Cassius, 250 ; threat- 
ened by Volagases L, 273 ; pro- 
tected by Corbulo, 274; invaded 
by Volagases III., 825; recovered 
by Avidius Cassius, 320 ; visited 
by M. Aurelius, 381 ; invaded by 
Volagases IV., 388 ; recovered by 
Severus, ib. 
Syrian Gates, 100 
Syrians, 244 
Syrinx, 57 n. 

Syro-Macedonian kingdom, founded 
by Seleucus Nicator, 32 ; its ex- 
tent and products, 33 ; its capital, 
35 ; its weak organisation, 36 ; its 
wars with Egypt, and Asia Minor, 
37; its early kings, 37-30; it 
loses Bactria by revolt, 40 ; loses 
Parlhia, 42 ; is attacked by 
Ptolemy Euergetes, 47 ; loses 
Hyrcania to Parthia, 48; attempts 
to recover Parthia, but fails, 48- 
51 ; its internal troubles, 52, 54 ; 
it is attacked by Artabanus I., 54 ; 
repulses him, 55 ; attacks him in 
return, 56 ; over-runs Parthia, 
and attacks Hyrcania, 57 ; allows 
the independence of Parthia, ib. ; 
attacks Bactria, 58 ; fails of suc- 
cess, 50; loses the Mardian country 
to Parthia, 64 ; loses part of Rha- 
giana, 65; engaged in war with 
Egypt, 71 ; and Judrea, 72 ; be- 
comes a prey to civil disturbance, 
73 ; loses Media Magna to Par- 
thia, 76; loses Susiana, Persia, 
and Babylonia, 77 ; probably also 
Sagartia, Gedrosia, Carmania, and 
Assyria, 70 ; mak^s an attempt to 
crush Parthia, which completely 
fails, 81-83 ; puts down Jewish 
independence, 08 ; makes another 
attempt to reduce Parthia, which 
again fails, 08-105 ; loses Cilicia, 
Tyre and Sidon, 105 n. ; falls into 


anarchy, 106 ; occupied by Ti- 
granes of Armenia, 141; in B.C. 
65 is made a Roman province, 100 

TAB.E, 73 
Tabriz, 204 

Tacitus, 228, 257 

Tadjiks, 25 

Takht-i-Bostan, 383 

Takht-i-Khuzroo, 380, 383 

Takht-i-Suleiman, 201 n., 203 rc., 

Tambraca, 57 n. 

Tanais, R., 201 

Tape, 03 

Tarsus, 200 

Taurus, M, 101,275,276 

Tebbes, 11 

Tejend, R., 5, 

Temple, Jewish, plundered by Anti- 
ochus Epiphanes, 80 ; by Crassus, 
150 n. 

Temple of the Sun at Hatra, 343 

Ten Thousand, the, 205 

Tengh-i-Saoulek, bas-reliefs at, 302- 

Teraphim, Parthian, 400 

Tersheez, 3, 4, 5 

Thamana3ans, 21 

Thapsacus, 156 n. 

Theocritus, a general of Caracallus, 

Tkeopator, a title of Parthian kings, 

Thian Chan M., 113 

Thibet, 115 

Thermusa (see Musa) 

Theus, title of kings, 30, 01 

Thrace, 282 

Tiberius Caesar, receives back the 
standards taken by Parthia from. 
Crassus, 200 n. ; follows the 
policy of Augustus, 210 ; sent by 
Augustus in n.c. 20 to arrange 
the affairs of Armenia, 212 ; goes 
into retirement at lihodes, 213 ; 
receives embassy from Artabanus 
III., 224 ; sends Gerinanicus to 
settle the affairs of the East, 225 ; 
foments rebellion in Parthia, 220- 
231 ; encourages Pharasmanes of 
Iberia to attack Artabanus, 281 ; 
instructs Vitellius to make peace 




with Artabanus, 238 ; peace made, 
239 ; dies, ib. 

Tigranes the Great, sent as a host- 
age to the Court of Parthia, 131 ; 
aided by Parthia in obtaining the 
Armenian throne, 134 ; cedes 
territory to Parthia, but later in 
his reign recovers it, ib. ; makes 
alliance with Mithridates the 
Great, of Pontus, 138 ; makes raid 
into Parthia, 134 ; conquers Upper 
Mesopotamia, 135 ; conquers Ar- 
menia Minor, Adiabene, and Media 
Atropatene, 140 ; becomes king of 
Syria, 141 ; acquires dominion 
over Cilicia and Phoenicia, ib. ; 
builds new capital, Tigranocerta, 
ib. ; attacked by Phraates III., 144; 
submits to Pompey, ib. 

Tigranes, grandson of Archelaiis of 
Cappadocia, made king of Ar- 
menia by the Romans, 270 ; at- 
tacked by Parthians, 273 ; his 
native adversaries punished by 
Corbulo, 280 

Tigranes the younger, son of Tigranes 
the Great, 144 

Tigranes, brother of Artaxias II., 212 

Tigranes, made king of Armenia by 
Volagases III., 324 

Tigrania, 128 n. 

Tigranocerta, built by Tigranes the 
Great, 141 ; situation of, ib. n. ; 
efforts made to render it popu- 
lous, ib. ; submits to Tiridates, 
264 ; taken by the Romans, 270 ; 
unsuccessfully attacked by the 
Parthians, 273 

Tigris, R., 125 

Til or Tilleh, 257, 308 n. 

Timarchus, 39 

Tiridates I., king of Parthia, ac- 
counts of his youth, 42, 43 ; be- 
comes king, 45 ; conquers Ilyr- 
cania, 48 ; driven from his king- 
dom by Seleucus Callinicus, ib. ; 
returns and defeats Callinicus, 49; 
builds Dara, 53 ; dies, 54 

Tiridates, rebels against Phraates IV., 

Tiridates, grandson of Phraates IV., 
231 ; becomes king, 235 

Tiridates, brother of Volagases I., 
son of Vonones II., 262; made 


king of Armenia by Volagases, 
204 ; driven out, ib. ; re-estab- 
lished, 206 ; governs harshly, 269 ; 
driven out a second time, 270; 
complains of his brother's inert- 
ness, 271 ; again established as 
king, 279 ; consents to receive 
investiture from Rome, 281 ; goes 
to Rome, 282; and is magnifi- 
cently received by Nero, 283 ; 
returns to Asia, ib. ; attacked, 
and nearly killed by the Alani, 
292; dies, 299 

Tiridates, an Armenian prince, 351 n. 

Titius, Marcus, 211 n. 

Titus, 288, 292 

Tochari, inhabit country between 
upper Jaxartes and upper Oxus, 
118 ; a Scythic tribe, 120 ; at- 
tacked by Artabanus II., 121; 
defeat him, 122 

Tokharestan, 118 

Tomyris, 175 n. 

Toun, 11 

Trajan, object of his wars on the 
Danube, 117 ; conquers Dacia, 
299 ; proceeds to the East, 301 ; 
receives embassy from Chosroes, 
ib. ; entraps Parthamasiris, 303 ; 
has him killed, 305 ; makes Ar- 
menia a Roman province, 306; 
conquers Mesopotamia, 307; builds 
fleet at Nisibis, 308; in danger 
from great earthquake, ib. ; con- 
quers Adiabene, 310 ; takes Hatra, 
Babylon, and Seleucia, 311 ; takes 
Ctesiphon, 312 ; descends Tigris 
to Persian Gulf, 313 ; forced to 
retreat, 314; makes Parthamas- 
pates king at Ctesiphon, 314; 
repulsed from Hatra, 315; dies, 

Triparadisus, 31 

Tryphon, 82, 97, 98 

Turan, 20 

Turanians, 19, 75, 127 

Turiiia, 75 

Turkomans, 9, 19, 24 

Turks, resemble the Parthians, 25, 
245; Seljukian, 193 

Tyras, R., 133 

Tyre, revolts from Syro-Mace- 
donians, 105 n. ; resists Pacorus, 




UEWANIKIF, site of Charax, 67 
Uminidius, prefect of Syria, 
Urarda, 126, 127 
Urumiyeh, L., 126, 203 n. 

U-siun, 115 

VALARSACES of Armenia, 130 
Van, old capital of Urarda, 126 

Vardanes I., reign of, 249, 254 ; coin 
of, 250 

Vardanes II., revolt of, 268 ; coin 
of, 269 

Vasaces, 22, 23 

Vases, Parthian, 387 

Velleius Paterculus, 219 ft. 

Ventidius, P., defeats Parthians, 189 ; 
allowed a triumph, 197 

Vera, 201 n. 

Verus, L., adopted by M. Aurelius, 
324; sent to the East, 325; his 
inaction, 326; successes of his 
generals, 327, 328 ; his disastrous 
return to Rome, 329 ; results of 
his expedition, 330 

Vespasian, becomes a candidate for 
the imperial crown, 288 ; aid 
offered him by Volagases I., ib. ; 
declined, ib. ; persuaded by Csesen- 
nius Paetus that rebellion is immi- 
nent in Comrnagene, 289 ; allows 
Psetus to make Commagene a pro- 
vince, 291; receives letter from 
Volagases, ib. ; treats the Com- 
magenian princes mildly, 291 ; de- 
clines to aid Volagases against the 
Alani, 292 

Vitellius, L., made proconsul of 
Syria by Tiberius, 228 ; commis- 
sion enlarged, 231 ; threatens 
Mesopotamia, 233 ; introduces 
Tiridates II. into his kingdom, 
234 ; throws troops across the 
Euphrates, 237 ; makes peace with 
Artabanus III., 239 
Vitaxae, 87 
Virgil ianus (see Pedo) 
Volagases I., son and successor of 
Vonones II., 261 ; gives Media 
to his brother Pacorus, 262 ; de- 
sires Armenia for his other bro- 
ther, Tiridates, 263 ; invades Ar- 
menia, and makes him king, 


264; relinquishes his conquest, 
ib. ; his war with Izates, 265 ; 
is attacked by Scyths, ib. ; re- 
pulses them, ib. ; re-occupies Ar- 
menia and re-establishes Tiridates, 
266 ; negotiates with Corbulo, 
267; has struggle with his son, 
Vardanes, 208 ; is attacked by 
Corbulo, 269 ; loses Hyrcania by- 
revolt, 270 ; loses Armenia, ib. : 
finds himself in ill odour with his 
subjects, 271 ; addresses them, 
272 ; invades Armenia, 273 ; with- 
draws his troops, ib. ; attacks 
and defeats Paetus, 275-277 ; ne- 
gotiates with Nero, 279; makes 
peace with Corbulo, 281; terms 
of the peace advantageous to Par- 
thia, 284 and n. ; offers to assist 
Vespasian, 288 ; sends to congra- 
tulate Titus, ib. ; writes to Ves- 
pasian on behalf of princes of 
Commagene', 290; attacked by 
the Alani, asks aid of Vespasian, 
and is refused, 291, 292; dies, 292 ; 
his character, 293 
Volagases II., supposed early coin 
of, 296 n. ; succeeds Chosroes, 
317 ; wrongly called his son, 318 ; 
attacked by the Alani, 320 ; buys 
peace, 321 ; sends embassy to con- 
gratulate Antoninus Pius, ib. ; 
demands the restoration of the 
golden throne, 322; demand re- 
fused, ib. ; dies, 323 
Volagases III., succeeds Volagases 
II., 323; meditates war with 
Rome, ib. ; seizes Armenia and 
makes Tigranes king, 324; in- 
vades Syria and Palestine, 325 ; 
defeated by Avidius Cassius near 
Europus, 326; attacked in his 
own dominions by Avidius, 327 ; 
defeated at Sura, ib. ; his palace 
at Ctesiphon burnt, 328; loses 
Western Mesopotamia, 329 ; con- 
templates an attack on Rome, 
331 ; sends embassy to M. Aure- 
lius, 332 ; remains at peace with 
Commodus, ib. ; dies, ib. 
Volagases IV. succeeds Volagases 
III., 333; receives application for 
aid from Pescennius Niger, 334 ; 
allows his vassals to render aid, 





and thereby offends Severus, 335 ; 
attacked by Severus, 336; loses 
Mesopotamia and Adiabene, 337 ; 
recovers them, 338; loses them 
a second time, 340 ; defeated by 
Severus, loses his capital, ib. ; 
seeks safety in flight, 341 ; his 
strange inaction, 345 ; length of 
his reign, 346 ; his death, 347 

Yolagases v., son of Volagases IV., 
contends with his brother Arta- 
banus IV., 348 : acknowledged as 
king of Parthia by Caracallus,349; 
sinks into the position of a pre- 
tender, 350 

Volagases, of 'Armenia, submits to 
Severus, 339 

Vologesocerta, 92 

Yonones I., sent to Rome by his 
father, Phraates IV., 211 ; sent 
for, to be king, bv the Parthians 
221; offends his subjects, 222 
contends with Artabanus, 223 ; 
flies to Armenia and is made king- 
by the Armenians, 224 ; his ex- 
pulsion demanded by Artabanus, 
ib. ; flies to Syria, ib. ; transferred 
from Syria to Cilicia, 227 ; at- 
tempts escape and is killed, ib. ; 
coin of, 223 n. 

Yonones II., succeeds Gotarzes, 261 ; 
his coins remarkably rude, ib. ; 
reigns only a few months, ib. ; suc- 
ceeded by his son, Volagases I., ib. 

WAGHAESHAG (seeValarsaces) 
Water-tax, 16 


XANTI1II, 118 
Xenophon, 205 
Xerxes, 16 

York, Severus dies at, 347 
Yue-chi, expelled from their settle- 
ments by the Iliong-nu, 115 ; oc- 
cupy Thibet, ib. ; reach the Oxus 
and Caspian, ib. ; cause a pressure 
on Bactria and Parthia, 117; 
threaten the destruction of Asiatic- 
civilisation, 120 

ZAB, R, 100, 140, 247, 265 
Zagros, M., bounds Media on the 
west, 54 ; passed by Antiochus 
the Great, 55 ; contains excellent 
pasture land, 80 ; might have fur- 
nished a retreat to Antiochus 
Sidetes, 104 ; country at western 
foot of, 258; penetrated by Avi- 
dius Cassius, 328 

Zapaortenon, 53 n. 

Zaria, 128 n. 

Zendavesta, 22 

Zeno, made king of Armenia by 
Germanicus, 226 

Zenodotium, 153 

Zeugma, position of, 152, 155 n. ; 
Meherdates at, 256 ; Titus at, 288; 
Avidius Cassius at, 327 

Zipoetes, 38 

Zoroaster, precepts of, enforced by 
Artaxerxes, 364 ; religion of, 398 






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